“The Countdown Begins!”

Welcome to the end of 2016. Yes, we are much closer than you think! Now the calendar shows 65 days left in the year, it really doesn’t hit the point about how few of those days can be used to begin a transaction that will close in 2016! Think about it, how many days its taking for you to go from contract to closing? How many days does it take from pre-approval to closing? When you look at those numbers, it really brings into focus how little time actually remains to meet someone and get them through the process.

Each one of you should know these important transactional numbers. Without really knowing the average time it takes from first contact to closing, and then contract to closing, you really can’t frame your time and your objectives effectively. So take a few minutes and get really clear about your numbers.

  • How many days do I average to take my clients from first contact to closing?
  • How many days does it take for my team to get from contract to closing?

Once you know these numbers you have something to work on. The contact to closing number is really your gestation period. Some may be faster and others longer, but it is your average or your client, in your market! The next number is your conversion period. How many days does it take me and my team to go from contract to closing? There are many factors, some you control and others you don’t. But it is important for you to know because it will become a very valuable tool and marketing strategy as we roll into November!

First, once you know how long it takes you to go from contract to closing, look at the calendar and locate the very last day you will accept a new file into your system that will close before the end of the year. DO NOT DO THIS WITHOUT TALKING TO YOUR TEAM! You never know what days you will be open for the holidays. This year, Christmas and New Year’s fall on a Sunday. Will you be able to close on December 23rd and December 26th? How about December 30th? If you aren’t 100% certain, go ask!

Now that you know what days are available to you to close transactions, find out if your TEAM has and restrictions on their time? Vacations and time off happen frequently this time of year so you had better find out!

Once you are clear on those items, you can start backing out the days so you know the last possible day you can take in a loan to get it done by the end of the year. You also have to know your capacity! Just because you are open, doesn’t mean you will have the capacity to close all the loans. After all, you can only close so many each day.

Now you have a picture and it’s time to share the message! You need to get out there and let people know exactly how many days they have left to put together a deal and get it closed by the end of the year! This can be a huge marketing tool! This significant competitive advantage can be yours IF you do the work and know the facts. Share your date with all of your referral partners! Call all of your pre-approved borrowers and share than information with them. Have your referral partners contact their clients and let them know the timeline. You may find your competitors will stop taking applications to close this year long before you do!

Every day you can share information and create activity opens the door to possibility. Some people may not be able to put a deal together in time, but they will just become a great start to your 2017! And remember, nobody ever had a bad year with a great first quarter! So do the math. Check your numbers and with your people. Then get out there and share your countdown so people can make an informed choice!

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

“Numbers tell the story”

Stock market near all-time high levels, yet nobody seems happy with the economy. Interest rates near the all-time low, and we have the lowest percentage of home ownership in decades. Pressure on both listings and rentals are causing multiple bid situations all across the country and yet builders are reluctant to engage in large scale development. These are just a few of the stories of our situation that might make you pause and try and figure out what is going on.

63% homeownership is the lowest percentage many of us have ever seen; falling almost 5% in less than ten years. The entire mortgage meltdown was caused when guidelines were relaxed or eliminated trying to move that number from 67% to 70%, and now we find ourselves not better off for the experience. Many lost their homes that they could have never qualified for in the first place. Those properties falling into trouble put pressure on the rest of the market and the slippery slope got really steep in a hurry!

Builders who bought huge tracks of land and started many projects were left without buyers and sustained significant losses. Even the biggest and best builders were not exempt from losses and they have become far more cautious and are not in a hurry to expand broadly, at least not at the moment.

The Federal Reserve Board who seemed to be in a hurry to raise rates seems almost to have regretted raising rates just that little .25%! Now the markets seem almost sure that another rate hike won’t happen this year! Looking at the ten year near all-time lows, and oil pushing back below $40 a barrel, is anyone comfortable and confident?

Then we add into the mix a presidential election that most people are unhappy with and two seriously flawed candidates that each would likely have lost to just about anyone else, yet here we are!

So let’s look at some numbers that can really matter. People will argue that credit standards and people with declining credit scores are the reason more people aren’t buying homes. That argument is just that, an argument. It isn’t based in any fact. The reality is more than 75% of the population has good enough credit to qualify for a mortgage loan. Some may argue that income qualification is too difficult to become qualified for a mortgage. Again, if you really earn the money you say you do, and you can really afford the money you would like to borrow, there are many products and programs that will help get the job done!

In my opinion, these numbers just don’t add up to a falling homeownership rate. And when the cost of owning where you live is less expensive than renting where you live in most of the markets we all service, the only conclusion I can come to is that as an industry, mortgage professionals and real estate professionals aren’t doing a very good job getting the word out about all the benefits of homeownership.

Each and every one of us needs to connect with our referral partners and look at our specific market and review the local numbers. What are the facts behind supply and demand? What are the real numbers rent verses owning and with the likelihood of home prices and mortgage rates both being higher in the next few years, doesn’t now represent a significant opportunity?

So do the math. Know your numbers. Talk to your referral partners and gather all the information. Only then can you go out into your specific market knowing the numbers and why now is likely the time to either become a home owner, or to find your “Forever Home” and buy it and finance it before the cost of both go higher.

We may not know what is going to happen in the stock market. We may not know who wins the elections. We may not know very much about what the future holds; but we will all need a place to live! So why not get into that place now and lock in the cost before it goes any higher?

Information and education are the two things you can provide in your market on a very local level. Since all markets are local, get out and know your numbers and share that information with those around you! Become the local expert! That is where today’s opportunities are located!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

“The Re-valuation Situation!”

What a ride! The mortgage backed securities market has seen a great deal of price improvement since the “Brexit” vote. We have spent the past couple of blog posts pointing out a winning strategy to help you ignite your business! One piece of the puzzle you can’t afford to miss out on is being sure you revalue all of your pre-approvals to reflect the new purchasing power of lower rates! Yes, as rates go down, that same monthly payment qualifies for a bunch more money! Depending on where you were pricing, and how much they qualified for, it could be just the thing to help you get your buyers off the fence and into a home!

So here is what we do. Go back to ALL the pre-approvals you have issued in the last six to nine months that haven’t closed a loan with you yet. Look at each pre-approval and recalculate their loan size given today’s new lower rates. Create a short thirty second, to one minute video explaining the new letter and why you have issued it, sort of something like this:

“I am sure you have heard a lot about the “Brexit” vote and the reaction in the financial markets. While your 401K might have taken a hit, these very same market conditions have caused interest rates to fall dramatically! This means your monthly housing payment now affords you a great deal more money! I have taken the liberty to rework your numbers and I will be sending you your new pre-approval letter by email. Please understand that rates may again rise quickly, but right now you have an opportunity to get more home for the same monthly payment!”

Post the video, email the video, and then get to work reworking your re-approvals and get them out! Don’t forget to send the video to your Realtors®! Also be sure you send the Realtor® a copy of the new pre-approval! This may be just the thing your agent needs to get their borrowers in contract! But don’t stop there! You need to call every Realtor® you work with right now and make sure that everyone they are showing property too, calls you for a revaluation!

Refinances are great! But lower rates provide so much more in the way of opportunities! Revalue all your pre-approvals! Call all of your agents and let them know NOT to show property to anyone who hasn’t had their pre-approval redone in the last ten days! These are two simple steps that will really help you provide value to your clients and your referral partners!

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

“Graduations, Vacations, and Gyrations!”

So here we are, closing in on the crazy days of summer and the old prevailing excuses as to why we didn’t capture more of the available business begin to surface. As a coach, you get to hear many reasons why your clients didn’t execute the plan that they themselves agreed to work. Here are a few of my favorites.

“I didn’t bother to go out this weekend and work the open houses because it was graduation week in my area.” Yes, that must be it. The real reason nobody was going to be out looking at homes or trying to sell a home was because it was graduation weekend! Oh please! Did it ever occur to you that graduation weekend is the exact weekend you would want to be out and active with your open houses? If you think nobody is out there, it is the exact time you want to be visible. Graduations are a great reason to talk real estate! Kids going off to college or out on their own, why not sell and get the house that works for you?

What if that open house is on the same street as a graduation party? Wouldn’t a few of the attendees be interested in moving to the same neighborhood as their friends or family members? Opportunity is everywhere if you just look for it!

Next on the list is, “Everyone is going on vacation”. Come on man! Give me a break! Everyone isn’t on vacation. Everyone can’t be on vacation every week from Memorial Day to Labor Day, so why even think to use that as an excuse? In fact, vacations are an excellent opportunity to get introduced to new referral partners! If in the course of your normal visitation schedule you find a referral partner that really is going on vacation, then simply ask them “Who is covering for you while you are away?” This opens the door to a warm introduction to someone you may not know, or may not have a solid relationship with. Why not make it a point to connect with the person covering for your referral partner and share with them how best to connect with you? Vacations are an opportunity, not an excuse not to work!

Last but not least is my favorite, “Things are so busy right now I don’t have any time to prospect?” Seriously, the absolute peak of opportunity and you think it’s okay not to follow your prospecting schedule? Your prospecting schedule is what got you the business. Now that the business is coming in, you are going to abandon the system you worked so hard to build?

Purchase applications are up almost 12% and refinances up a little more than 7%. You think now is the time to back off? You make your money doing the things the other guy won’t do! Yes it’s work. Yes it takes up time. But isn’t this what you have been asking for? Isn’t this why you did all the work? Don’t give up on success!

Have your process. Establish your timeline. Schedule the work. Track the results and make the needed adjustments. Now is not the time to back off, it’s time to double down!

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

“Think About the Buffalo”

Mortgage origination is an opportunity business. You can’t originate a loan without having an opportunity. While doing a training in St Louis, I tried to explain to the group about taking advantage of all the opportunities that present themselves during each transaction using the story of the American Indians and their relationship with the buffalo.

In the 1800’s, the American Indian followed huge herds of buffalo across the Great Plains. Indian braves would go out in groups a hunt and bring buffalo back to the village. When they were successful, it was cause for great celebration. The buffalo was the source of so much to the tribe and nothing went to waste. The hide was used for tents and clothes. The meat was prepared and a prized staple. The bones were used for tools and the very sinew on their bows. Nothing went to waste, nothing!

As loan originators, we need to be thinking of our purchase transactions just like the Indians treated the buffalo, let no opportunity be wasted! It is not good enough to just do a great job closing the loan, each transaction needs to be looked at for all the potential referrals and referral partner opportunities that are contained inside. Here are some thoughts about what you may be overlooking.

Clearly the clients themselves are the first opportunity to be harvested. Have we collected their 9’s and 10’s?

Then we look at the file itself. Is there an accountant on the tax returns? Do we have a financial planner involved? Who is the insurance agent? Are we connecting to any of the Realtors involved? Did we remember to contact the seller?

Your transactions contain a wealth of opportunities. Just like the buffalo was to the Indians, your purchase transactions can be just as important to you as a source of opportunities!

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

“Your systems serve as your filters”

One of the key points I try to make with my clients is that our business is pretty simple, it’s not easy, but it is pretty simple if you have your systems in order and follow the equation: “Process + Timeline = Outcome”. If you have a clear process on how you do your job, and how each contact goes from contact to closing and beyond, you have your system. When you put that system to a timeline, you are setting a clear expectation of what will happen and when. You also will know what didn’t happen and why, which may be even more important information!

Your systems act as a filter for your business. You either have a good system or you don’t. People either understand your system or they don’t. Your clients and referral partners either see the benefit to your systems and your timelines or they don’t! That is exactly the point; the people who like and understand your systems will enjoy them and share them with others. People who don’t aren’t likely to be your best clients or referral partners! The systems will serve as a filter for both prospective clients and referral partners. They will separate out who you should be spending time with and who you shouldn’t. Not everyone will like what you do and how you do it, that’s fine, because enough people will see the real value in having a clear system and a coordinated timeline process that those people will more than offset the ones who don’t. Remember, you don’t need every deal in your market, just the number of transactions you want the way you want them!

It works like a good movie or restaurant. People who really enjoyed it will tell others. Once hearing the glowing review, they will flock to it if they are interested in either going to a movie or a good restaurant. Even if they don’t, it is likely that they will recommend that movie or restaurant to a third party that may want that information. It’s like with me; I don’t like sushi. My kids love sushi. I know the really good sushi place near my house because it’s where my kids want to go when they visit. Even though I won’t go there, if someone asked about a good sushi place, I would be happy to recommend this place just because my kids have had a great experience and they love sushi!

The same thing happens in the mortgage business. We set an expectation for the customer of the full document pre-approval. We share with them the value in getting this done before they go looking for a house. Some people see the value; others just want a quick pre-qual so they can go out and shop. If my Realtors® won’t show them property without my full document pre-approval, they run the risk of that customer going someplace else and using a different agent. However, they know that not having my full document pre-approval means this customer may not qualify for a loan, or their offer may be seen as weak, or lose a house to a stronger offer. So while they may lose a customer from time to time, the transactions they do put together go much smoother and result in higher customer satisfaction. The same holds true for setting the standard of the full document pre-approval, you might lose some people, but the people who see the value in your system, will have a better transactional experience and are much more likely to refer you to other people who want that level of experience.

So let your systems serve as your filters. Have a great system the works every step from contact to post closing. Be certain you set forward the timeline to be sure everyone has the same set of expectations. When you do, your clients and referral partners will have a much more positive experience and refer you more opportunities of the very people you are looking for!

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

Last Push of the Year!

It’s hard to believe we are already in October. We are about forty-five days away from putting together the last deals of the year that will close and get you paid in 2015! Are you on track to meet all of your projections for this year? What is still left to be done?

You have just about a week to get in front of all of your accountants who are scrambling to put together those last tax returns for those that filed extensions. It’s an important time to remind them to ask their clients if they are planning to purchase a home in the next couple of years as now represents an opportunity to look at those returns and know that the returns they file now, and those they can file in February 2016 for 2015 income, represent two years’ worth of qualifying income! Paying your taxes never was more advantageous if you are looking to maximize your qualifying income for that next purchase. This can be a significant conversation with your accountants to show you are all about expertise and solutions, not just an order taker and paper pusher!

October also is the month we begin to focus on fall strategies. Are you planning a Halloween event? Is it possible for you to put together all the pieces for a “Black Friday Sale”, maybe a movie night or client event of some kind? It is also time to seriously put together your business plan for 2016 and get it done, scheduled and implemented by doing what it takes to really do what you know you should be doing. We will talk more about business planning with the monthly coaching call the end of the month.

We are not even a week into TRID and the stories are coming in about all of the misinformation on the street. Realtors® saying that the new “law” requires a 60 day contract; that the new “law” requires a seven day waiting period before closing; even that the new “law” eliminates the ability of a borrower to get pre-approved for a loan. It is just amazing to me the stories we are getting back from the street. If you have a wild and crazy TRID story, please let us know; we all need to get correct information out to the people; we know. The very people TRID was supposed to help clarify the process for?

Interesting opportunity and idea comes from one of my clients, Yvonne Godina in San Antonio Texas. She was thinking about how to incorporate some fun into all of this TRID conversation. Yvonne wanted to get information to the street and be a resource for accurate and timely information, but how could she do this in a fun way? Yvonne came up with a great idea. She calls it “TRID or Treat”. Using the Halloween time of year and a little bit of ingenuity, Yvonne came up with the idea to make a play of “Trick or Treat” by creating “TRID or Treat” holiday bags. They contain some candy, and a short letter sharing a few simple points about TRID and how to connect with her via phone, email, website, or social media to get more information about the truth when it comes to TRID.

When she first started sharing, her realtors® were amused, but then began really asking serious questions. A few agents shared the information with their managers and she has received requests to come back to the office and do an office wide presentation. Most importantly, Yvonne has received referrals from agents she has never received referrals from before as a result of just getting out into the market, sharing accurate information, and having a little fun with a confusing subject.

Great job Yvonne, I am sure this is just the beginning of a whole new stream of business from people who would have never referred you until you took a chance and got out and got engaged with sharing solutions to complicated challenges! It makes me very proud to have an opportunity to work with such great people on a daily basis.

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