Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Why Use a Realtor?

Many people, in an effort to avoid paying commissions to a Realtor, go the For Sale By Owner route. While this may seem like an exciting challenge to homeowners, the reality can be a little bit darker. True, real estate is an exciting market to be in, but it is also one fraught with legal complications. Buying and selling can be quite stressful, especially if you don't know exactly what you are doing.

First of all, a Realtor is trained in all legal matters involved in the sale of real estate. Sometimes, these sales go smoothly, but sometimes, clauses, liens, and contingency contracts can make them very complicated. I recently heard about a couple that sold their own home. They entered into a contract with a couple that ended up having serious trouble getting financing. They ended up missing the opportunity for a quick sale while they waited in vain for the couple that made the original offer to get a mortgage loan. Once the potential buyers finally admitted defeat the couple were exhausted, and still had to deal with selling their home. It is hard to know when life is going to through you curve balls. The best thing to do is be prepared, and a Realtor comes not only trained in theoretical real estate cases, but, ideally, with a whole history of experiences from which to draw from. This makes them extremely helpful when negotiating the legal aspects of buying or selling.

Even if your home sale goes off without a hitch, all the paperwork involved can be overwhelming. What are you signing? Sometimes it's hard to tell when the language is full of legal and industry terms that the average person just isn't familiar with. A Realtor can translate these forms, helping you understand what each step in the transaction is all about.

A Realtor is connected to a whole network of other Realtors. This means that weather you are buying or selling, a Realtor can help. They have a network of other professionals to market your home to. They have clients waiting to buy homes, and colleagues with more clients, waiting to buy more homes. Some homes barely need to be marketed because there are buyers already waiting to purchase just that type of home.

When it does come time to market, a savvy Realtor has numerous tools at their disposal that the average citizen does not. Sure, there are a lot of web sites out there where real estate can be advertised, however only a Realtor can post a home on the Multiple Listing Service. Once a home is posted there, buyers from all over the world can see it, as can even more of those Realtors with clients waiting to buy.

Many people think that they can only find what they need themselves, but a good Realtor will be able to listen to your needs. A good Realtor knows the market, and knows the area, and may be able to suggest places you didn't even know existed. They are also familiar with local services, and can recommend lawyers, notaries, inspectors or even contractors that they personally know do good work.

Overall, an experienced Realtor may cost a little bit in commission, but the service they provide is worthwhile. If someone can help you not lose money, or save you a lot of time, aren't they worth what you paid them?
For more advice or for a referral to some excellent Realtors, feel free to contact me.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mortgage Market Guide Vol. 9 Issue 51

Last Week in Review: Several reports brought good news to the Markets, plus there was news on inflation.

"Whistle while you work." Snow White. That's something more people have been able to do lately, as Initial Jobless Claims have now fallen below 400,000 - a level that historically is associated with an improving job market - for five out of the last six weeks. And that wasn't the only bit of good news the markets saw last week. Read on for details.

Not only was last week's Initial Jobless Claims reading of 366,000 the lowest level since May of 2008, there was a double dose of good news in the manufacturing sector, as both the Philadelphia Fed Index and the Empire State Index were both well above expectations. Normally, good economic news causes money to move out of Bonds and into Stocks as investors like to take advantage of gains...and this would typically hurt home loan rates, as they are tied to Mortgage Bonds.

However, the continued uncertainty out of Europe helped keep Bonds and home loan rates on an improving trend, as the US Dollar and US Bonds (including Mortgage Bonds, which home loan rates are based on) are benefiting from safe haven buying. Ultimately, Europe needs to provide a large financial backstop for their banks and sovereign debt in order to fix their problems longer-term. Until this happens, uncertainty should benefit the US Dollar and US Bonds, and keep home loan rates relatively low.

One factor that we can't ignore, though, is inflation. Despite the Fed stating again last week that inflation is moderating, core consumer level inflation has continued to inch higher every month. Also, last week's Producer Price Index showed that inflation at the wholesale level was slightly higher in November. Remember 
inflation is the arch enemy of Bonds and home loan rates, because if inflation rises, investors in Bonds demand a higher yield to offset the lost buying power inflation imposes on a fixed payment. And as home loan rates are tied to Mortgage Bonds, this would mean home loan rates move higher.
The bottom line is that while the uncertainty out of Europe should continue to help Bonds and home loan rates, both inflation and continued good economic reports here in the US could temper these improvements. With home loan rates still near historic lows, now remains a great time to purchase or refinance a home. Let me know if I can answer any questions at all for you or your clients. 

Forecast for the Week: The Bond Markets may be closing early Friday, but there will be plenty of reports on the housing market, inflation, and the state of the economy 

The Bond Markets will be closing early at 2:00 p.m. on Friday for the Christmas holiday, but the week will be busy before then.
  • Housing Starts and Building Permits (Tuesday), Existing Home Sales (Wednesday) and New Home Sales (Friday) for November will be reported.
  • Weekly Initial Jobless Claims will be delivered on Thursday, and the Markets will be looking to see if the reading remains under 400,000.
  • Also on Thursday, we'll see the Consumer Sentiment Index for December as well as the final reading on Third Quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2011. The second reading came in at 2%, down from the first reading of 2.5%.
  • Finally, Friday the markets will see reports on Personal Income and Personal Spending along with the inflation indicator Core Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE). Durable Goods will also be reported.
In addition to those reports, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) will announce downward revisions for Existing Home Sales over the past 5 years - and the revision is expected to be "meaningful."
Finally, the Treasury Department will sell a whopping $99 Billion in 2-, 5- and 7-year Notes on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result. 

 Want to give a gift that keeps on giving? Check out this great idea below.  

Give the Gift of Charity this Holiday Season!

It's a Snap with THE GOOD CARD® - a Gift Card for Charity
Network for Good has a fresh angle on gifting this holiday season: The Good Card® - a gift card for charity - is perfect for everyone on your list. Good Cards have a stored value that can be redeemed as a donation to any of more than 1.2 million charities based in the US. Good Cards can be distributed via email or physical mail, or can be private labeled to meet your brand needs. Learn more at Network For Good.

A gift card for charity is an ideal reward for employees or thank you gift for customers and vendors that links their passion for a cause to your company's brand. A new study by researchers from Harvard Business School, the University of British Columbia and the University of Liege that was recently highlighted in the Washington Post confirms that a bonus employees get to spend on others is more motivating than a bonus they get to spend on themselves. A Good Card recipient can redeem their gift card as a donation to any of more than a million nonprofits, an easy way for employees to share their personal rewards with others.

Good Card purchases, including fees, are tax-deductible to your company and are a creative way to spend funds earmarked for philanthropy. In addition, because Good Card purchases are charitable donations, they do not fall under the IRS gift limit or policies around corporate gifts with cash value. Network for Good's charity gift card program is turn-key, customizable and easy to implement - even at the last minute. The program is recommended for any company looking to put a special spin on their gift-giving this year. What's more, the person GIVING the gift (i.e., the card purchaser) gets the benefit of a tax advantage for charitable donations as well.

The Good Card is a creative and constructive way to honor partners and prospects, friends and neighbors during the holiday season and throughout the year. Visit Network For Good for more details. 

As your mortgage professional, I am sending you the MMG WEEKLY because I am committed to keeping you updated on the economic events that impact interest rates and how they may affect you.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Bill Could Spell Trouble For Homebuyers!

The David Vitter bill could dramatically raise the FHA fees for our homebuyers. Become aware then become vocal to our leaders. Realtors, Mortgage Lenders, Appraisers, Title and Escrow officers, we need to become more active to stop more bills that could slow down, stop or even reverse any possible housing recovery.

Please share with others and post any comments or concerns you have below so we can become one voice.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mortgage Market Guide Vol. 9 Issue 50

Last Week in Review: Good news on the economic report front, while the uncertainty continued out of Europe.

They say that no news is good news. And while that may be true, last week two economic reports were good news. Read on to learn what happened…and how home loan rates were impacted.

Last Thursday, Initial Jobless Claims come in at 381,000. Not only was this lower than expectations, the number was a nine-month low, signaling that the labor market is slowly improving. Then on Friday, Consumer Sentiment reached a six-month high, rising above expectations to 67.7. These aren't the only economic reports here in the US that have improved in recent weeks, which gives us reason for some optimism when it comes to our economy. But how the Eurodrama plays out may determine which way the fragile US economy goes next.

And it was a big week in Europe, with the European Central Bank (ECB) holding a policy meeting on Thursday and the two-day European Union Summit on Thursday and Friday. Before the Summit even began, rating firm Standard & Poor's put 15 of the 17-nation Euro currency bloc on a downgrade review, citing "continuing disagreements among European policy makers on how to tackle" the Euro debt crisis.

So what were the results of the EU Summit? Leaders agreed to a new, tighter "fiscal integration" across the Eurozone. This means that a new treaty will be drafted, setting guidelines such as annual budget deficits being limited to three percent, and failure to meet guidelines like these would automatically spark disciplinary procedures. As expected, Germany was the winner in this negotiation as they demanded a tighter fiscal union in
lieu of firing up the printing press and buying troubled sovereign debt.

So what does all of this mean for home loan rates here in the US? It's important to remember that when our economy is struggling and economic reports are less favorable, our Bond Market usually benefits as investors seek a safe haven for their money. And since home loan rates are tied to Mortgage Bonds, our home loan rates are sometimes at their best when our economy is struggling. In a way it makes times of economic struggle, good home loan rates can help kick start our economy in other areas.

Though our economic reports have been improving of late, our Bond markets - and therefore home loan rates - have continued to benefit from the uncertainty in Europe, as investors have been staying put in the relative safe haven of US Bonds. That's why now remains a great time to purchase or refinance a home, with home loan rates still near historic lows. Let me know if I can answer any questions at all for you or your clients.

Forecast for the Week: A full slate of economic reports is ahead, with news on inflation, manufacturing, retail sales, and more.

This week's calendar is packed full of data that will impact the capital markets as 2011 winds down.
  • The Retail Sales report for November will give the markets some insight as to how the holiday shopping season is treating retailers when it is reported on Tuesday.
  • Weekly Initial Jobless Claims will be delivered on Thursday and the markets will be looking to see if the number remains near last week's nine-month low.
  • Inflation will be reported on the wholesale level in the form of the Producer Price Index (PPI), which will be released on Thursday. That report will be followed by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) on Friday. Inflation has remained relatively low in the past year and the Federal Reserve feels that it will remain stable in the longer-term.
  • Manufacturing reports from the Empire State Index and the Philadelphia Fed Index will also garner attention when reported on Thursday.

In addition to those reports, the Fed will hold its FOMC meeting on Tuesday - and it's the last meeting for 2011. No change is expected to the benchmark Fed Funds Rate.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result.

View: Still have some holiday shopping to do? Check out these three great ideas.

3 Easy Gift Ideas

Shopping for the people who are close to you isn't very difficult. But shopping for a business associate, a party host or hostess, or your boss can be more difficult. In those cases the following gift ideas can help.

The Gift in a Basket. While they may seem passé, gift baskets are the ultimate in unique gifts. One reason is that a gift basket can include almost anything. The trick to making it great as well as unique is to find out the recipient's favorite hobby - whether it's golf, cooking, jogging or whatever. Give the basket a personalized theme by filling it with a variety of inexpensive items relating to the hobby.

The Gift of Greenery. While freshly cut flowers make for a very nice host or hostess gift, potted plants can be even better. Every time the recipients look at their plant, they will most likely think of you.

The Gift of Relaxation. We all work hard. That's why the gift of relaxation is so appreciated. And a prepaid massage is a great way to go. Beneficiaries of this gift can experience incredible relaxation, while also allowing their overworked muscles to receive a little TLC. Better still, this gift works for both men and women. And, it can fit into almost any budget - depending on whether you want to purchase a massage for a half hour or an hour.

Happy holidays to you and yours this season. And remember to give yourself a gift by spending time with the ones you love.

What’s Your Share Of The Secret $7.7 Trillion Bailout?

It is very concerning when the Federal Reserve is sending over 7.7 Trillion in what equates to bailout money to the European Countries that have proven they cannot manage their money. The part that makes it unsettling is the fact this is done with out any over sight. The President and Congress either don't know about it or are choosing to ignore it. Which is worse? With the state our Country is in right now, do you think that money could help stimulate the economy here? It makes me think about what the flight attendants say, put the mask on yourself before your child. Why? Because if you pass out then you both with be in trouble. Makes you think. 7.7 Trillion. Now, the Fed can't just send everyone in the country the 7.7 Trillion but it makes you wonder if there could have been something better done with some funds invested in these other Countries. They claim it is our Mortgage backed securities that brought them down so if we fixed our foreclosure mess, wouldn't that help turn those struggling Countries debt problems around?

Please click on the video below to start raising some questions and prepare yourself for these up coming elections. Change needs to happen.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mortgage Market Guide Vol. 9 Issue 49

Last Week in Review: Big Jobs news was reported, plus the uncertainty out of Europe continued.

Forecast for the Week: The economic calendar is light, which means news out of Europe could make it a volatile week in our markets.

View: There's a great holiday gift that doesn't cost a dime. Check out the details below.

Last Week in Review

It's been said that "slow and steady wins the race." And when it comes to the Jobs Report for November, it seems that the labor market continues to improve at a gradual pace. Read on for the details...and what they mean for home loan rates.

There was good news, as the headline number for job creations in November came in at 120,000, with 140,000 private jobs offsetting government losses. What's more, some upward revisions to the two previous readings added 72,000 more jobs than had been reported.

Perhaps even more important, Hourly Earnings grew by just 0.1% - a number that suggests no threat of wage-based inflation. Remember, inflation is the arch enemy of Bonds and home loan rates because when inflation rises, investors in Bonds demand a higher yield to offset the lost buying power inflation imposes on a fixed payment. And as home loan rates are tied to Mortgage Bonds, this would mean home loan rates move higher. So the Hourly Earnings number was good news for Bonds and home loan rates.

Catching the markets by surprise was a rather sharp decline in the unemployment rate to 8.6%, the lowest unemployment rate we've since March of 2009. While this is good news on the one hand, part of the decline stems from the fact that 315,000 people were removed from the workforce because they totally gave up looking for work. And with 13.3 million Americans still out of work, more improvement is certainly needed here.

Similarly, the labor participation rate (which is currently hovering at a 30-year low at 64) needs to move above 66or it will be difficult for the economy to grow fast enough to lower our budget deficit. In fact, last week Bond ratings firm Fitch issued a stern warning to the US, saying that our AAA rating will be in jeopardy if we don't soon do something to rein in our own ever-growing budget deficit.

It is good news that we're seeing some slow and steady improvement in the labor market…and coupling this with other recent positive economic signals, means we are not near a recession at the moment. But our economic health remains fragile, and any external shock from Europe could easily disrupt the economic improvement we are seeing.

The bottom line is that the uncertainty out of Europe - and the prospect of additional Mortgage Bond buying (QE3) from the Fed - should continue to support Bonds and home loan rates as they will benefit from investors looking for a safe haven for their money. However, it is also unlikely that Bonds and home loan rates will improve much further. Inflation, while not yet a problem, is still elevated…and if it continues to creep higher, this will limit any improvement home loan rates may see. With home loan rates still near historic lows, now remains a great time to purchase or refinance a home. Let me know if I can answer any questions at all for you or your clients.

Forecast for the Week

In the absence of data and with earnings season over, Stocks and Bonds will battle over investing dollars and trade off the geo-political headlines out of Europe.

  • The ISM Services Index will be reported on Monday. This report gives investors a gauge as to how the service sector is holding up in this economy. Individuals employed in this sector produce services rather than products. Service sector jobs provide a significant number of jobs in the US - including housekeeping, messenger services, tax preparation, nursing and teaching.
  • Weekly Initial Jobless Claims will be delivered on Thursday. This week's report comes after last week's report showed that claims rose above the 400,000 level for the first time in four weeks.
  • Consumer Sentiment will be delivered on Friday to cap off the week.

In addition to that news, here's something to keep an eye on in the weeks ahead. Stocks may be set for another jump. That's because of something that's become known as the "Santa Claus Rally." The Santa Claus Rally is usually a surge in Stocks in the week between Christmas and New Years.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result.

Mortgage Market Guide View

Holiday Spending Without an Extra Cent

Time is a precious commodity, but it's even more treasured because it is fleeting. As soon as a day, an hour, or even a minute passes, it is gone forever.

While that might be stating the obvious, it's an important concept to reflect on during the often-hectic holiday season. So this holiday season - regardless of which holiday you celebrate or if you celebrate any - remember to focus on and spend time with the people around you, including family, friends, and even coworkers or clients.

When TV personality and kid expert Art Linkletter was asked about the idea of spending time with loved ones this is what he said:

"I once asked a five-year-old what he would take with him if he were going to Heaven. He replied, 'I would take my parents because I think that up there they would have more time with me'... nuff said."

The good news is, it's actually possible to slow time down in a way that seems to lengthen special events like a day of fishing with your child or a special dinner with a good friend. The key is to consciously honor the person and the event as you experience it. To be in the moment.

In the days and weeks ahead, remember to recognize the people you care about. You don't need to do or say anything specific, nor do you need to spend any money. You simply need to spend time with them. So consider setting aside two hours one day for coffee with a friend. Or if you have children, make special plans to take each one out individually for their own dinner. You can even set aside a short amount of time each day to call some of your special clients to see how they're doing and personally wish them a happy holiday. And when you do, avoid distractions like technology or worries about what else you need to do that day.

After all, once the moment passes, you can go back to that checklist of things to do. But you can never go back to that moment in time.

As your mortgage professional, I am committed to keeping you updated on the economic events that impact interest rates and how they may affect you.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Buying Real Estate Foreclosures

When looking for a home for you and your family you will come across all kinds of deals, bargains, and so-called values along the way. If price is a very tangible object for you and your real estate investment then you might seriously want to consider the value of foreclosures. If you are hoping to invest in real estate in order to turn a profit then you may also wish to consider these properties that are often sold well below the ordinary value of the property because they are in varying degrees of disrepair.

Foreclosures are properties that have been taken back by the lenders because the previous owners were unable to continue making payments on the property. Being that these homes were often owned by those in financial distress and may have been empty for some time before being sold, chances are that the foreclosure homes being sold at any given time are in some degree of disrepair. The shabbiness of many of these properties is one of the factors that keeps the prices down. Another is the fact that the lenders are essentially attempting to recoup their investment in the property. For this reason they are often willing to take less than the value of the property if that is what is owed on the property.

Why are these properties often in a state of disrepair? Truthfully, there are many reasons but the primary culprit in this situation is money. Obviously the owners of the home were struggling to make the payments or the home would not be in the state of foreclosure. If the notes on the property were difficult to begin with it makes perfect sense that other issues such as leaking roofs, shabby carpeting, or plumbing maintenance would take a distant second in priority to making the house payment.

At the same time, there are those who are bitter about loosing their homes. As sad as the situation may be some add insult to injury by damaging these properties intentionally. These homeowners feel they have nothing left to loose and if they cannot have their property hole then the lenders should not as well. While this is by no means the way to go there are very many who choose this path over other options.

The fact is that their loss in these situations is actually your gain. The damage they do to the property is often not terribly expensive to repair though it can be quite bothersome. Your willingness to do the work in order to create a beautiful home for you and your family or as an investment can often translate to big savings at the closing table or when negotiating the price of the property. Foreclosures can allow families to buy larger homes in better neighborhoods than they would ordinarily be able to afford. They can also provide a fabulous kick-start to a property investment portfolio.

Despite common claims and Internet advertisements, you do not need to buy a list in order to find foreclosed real estate in your area. You simply need to procure the services of a competent realtor and let him or her know that your intentions are to purchase a foreclosed property or some other property that is selling well below market value. You might be amazed at the wealth of information and assistance your realtor can provide not only in finding excellent foreclosures but also when it comes to procuring financing for some of the more creatively damaged foreclosures you may run across at insane bargain prices.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Disconnect Between FHA And Their Product!

From the moment that FHA announced their dramatic increase in monthly MI that the streamlines would slow down. When you can lower your rate by over 1% but your payment does not move, what's the point of streamlining? That doesn't even take into account the 5% Net Tangible benefit that is required to even be able to streamline. I honestly think the FHA has no clue how their changes can effect the consumer. If your goal was to slow down streamlines to build up the reserves again, fine. Just admit that was your goal and not that streamlines would be fine it is just the Lenders not approving them. Seriously? We can only approve them based of the guidelines you provided to us. Hum....anyway, check out this video discussing this further.

I have an idea that would help those that had their FHA loans prior to the MI change. Streamline with the current MI factors they had prior to the streamline. New FHA loans would still be on the new rates and streamlines of people already on the new MI factors would not be effected. This will allow us to lower the rates and payments to many more homeowners and give them hope.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mortgage Market Guide Vol. 9 Issue 47

Last Week in Review: There was more negative news out of Europe and some positive economic news here in the US. But how did home loan rates fare?

They say it takes two to tango.... And Stocks and Bonds continue to battle for investing dollars and trade in seesaw fashion. What's causing this dance in the markets? Read on for details.

First, there was more pessimistic news out of Europe last week, as German leader Angela Merkel said that Europe is going through its toughest times since World War II, plagued by political unrest and a severe debt crisis. Reports showed there was a slowing in manufacturing to the point where recession fears have now gripped Europe.

Here lies another enormous problem for Europe: One way--and probably the biggest way--to lower government deficits, is to grow your way out and elevate Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, many of the Southern Europe economies are on the brink of recession, which will make lowering the deficit through economic growth impossible.

So what does all of this mean for home loan rates here in the United States?

The problems in Europe should continue to support the US Dollar and US Bonds (including Mortgage Bonds, on which home loan rates are based) to some degree, as investors will view our Bonds as a safe haven for their money. Yet, if we continue to see better-than-expected economic data here like we did last week, this will offset the continued uncertainty surrounding the European crisis. And this is part of the reason that the Bond markets and home loan rates saw limited gains last week.

Some of the good news last week included tamer than expected wholesale inflation in the form of the Producer Price Index (PPI) and improved New York Manufacturing. Also, as you can see from the chart, the year-over-year headline Consumer Price Index (CPI) was down from the previous reading, which is good news for people concerned about inflation. However, the closely watched Core CPI rose by 0.1%, and though this was inline with estimates, it did push the year-over-year rate to 2.1% from 2%...a touch above the Fed's comfort zone.

The bottom line is that home loan rates are still near historic lows, which means now remains a great time to purchase or refinance a home. Let me know if I can answer any questions at all for you or your clients

Forecast for the Week: There will be plenty of news to gobble up before the Thanksgiving holiday, with reports on the housing market, the state of the economy, inflation, consumer sentiment, and more.

This Thursday, all capital markets will be closed in observance of Thanksgiving, and Friday will be a shortened session. But we'll still see a cornucopia of economic indicators reported in just three days:

  • Existing Home Sales will be released on Monday. The report comes after last week's positive reports on Housing Starts and Building Permits, which signaled a glimmer of hope to the battered housing sector.
  • The second read on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the 3rd Quarter will be delivered on Tuesday. The initial reading showed a somewhat healthy 2.5% increase. Also, look for the Durable Goods Report on Wednesday, which gives us a read on big-ticket items and a sense of how the economy is doing.
  • The Consumer Sentiment Index will be released on Wednesday just in time for traders to square up positions ahead of the long holiday weekend.
  • Also released on Wednesday will be the Fed's favorite gauge on inflation, the Core Personal Consumption Expenditure, as well as Personal Incomes and Spending.
  • Finally, this week Initial Jobless Claims will be delivered on Wednesday rather than Thursday due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Claims have been below 400,000 for the previous three weeks, signaling that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel in the Labor markets.

In addition to those reports, the Fed's Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes from November 2nd could have some surprises when released at 2 pm ET on Tuesday. Last week, the New York Fed leader William Dudley said that it would make sense for the Fed to begin purchasing Mortgage Backed Securities. The minutes could reveal if the members discussed the topic.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result.

View: Planning to do some shopping on Black Friday? Be sure to check out these tips first.

Black Friday Do’s and Don’ts: These tips will help you get the best deals as you do your holiday shopping -- even if you don't plan on braving the stores the day after Thanksgiving.

By Cameron Huddleston,

Black Friday - the day after Thanksgiving that traditionally signals the beginning of the holiday shopping season because stores offer deep discounts that draw large, deal-hungry crowds - is just a couple of days away. Are you ready?

If you're a Black Friday pro who lines up outside stores every year before the crack of dawn to nab bargains, you're probably already planning your strategy - and we can help.

If you savor your sleep and sanity, you're probably not even thinking about stepping in a store November 25. But keep in mind that you don't have to brave the crowds to take advantage of Black Friday sales.

These Black Friday do's and don'ts will help you score the best deals - whether you want to shop from home in your pajamas or venture out to the stores (perhaps in something other than PJs).

DON'T rely solely on leaked ads to plan your Black Friday strategy. Plenty of Web sites specialize in publishing Black Friday ads before they appear on retailers' Web sites or in newspapers. You can use these leaked ads as a starting point for planning your purchases, but realize that you're reading gossip, says Dan de Grandpre, CEO of, one of our favorite deal sites. Inevitably, some of the information in leaked ads is wrong, he says. Most legitimate ads aren't published until the Sunday before Black Friday.

DO expect some Black Friday sales to start on Thursday. Many retailers will start offering discounts online on Thanksgiving day. And some, such as Amazon, will offer Black Friday deals several days before November 25 -- so hot items may sell out before the big shopping day after Thanksgiving.

DON'T assume the best deals are in the stores. It's a tradition for a lot of people to get up at the crack of dawn and camp out in front of stores to scoop up deals. But de Grandpre says a lot of doorbusters (those deeply discounted items retailers use to get consumers in the door early Friday) will be available online, too -- especially on big-ticket products. And if an Apple product is on your gift list, you'll probably find it for less online (at, or than at an Apple store -- and you may escape sales tax on your purchase.

DO brave the crowds if you're trying to snag an extremely limited item . You have a better chance of getting the deal if you go to the store - and are first in line. Keep in mind, though, that items that are marked down dramatically are cheap items to begin with - not top-selling, name-brand products, de Grandpre says.

DON'T do all your holiday shopping on Black Friday. Consider the Friday after Thanksgiving as one of several days to find deals. The best deals on apparel usually appear on Cyber Monday (November 28 this year), when retailers discount items online. Toys will be cheaper the first two weeks of December when Walmart and Amazon go to war with each other to offer the lowest prices and clear out inventory before Christmas, de Grandpre says. And the best deals on name-brand TVs and luxury items can be found in early December, too.

DO check return policies. Some retailers tighten their policies around the holidays. Some charge restocking fees if you bring an item back. And some won't let you exchange items that were manufactured specifically for Black Friday (to be sold at a low price). So be sure to ask each store what its policy is, and hang on to your receipts.

DON'T spring for extended warranties on big-ticket items. There's a good chance that a salesperson will try to talk you into paying extra for an extended warranty if you purchase a big-ticket item on Black Friday. That's because revenue from extended warranties helps make up for lost profits on discounted items. Typically, you'll pay 10% to 20% more for an item to extend a one-year manufacturer's warranty through the fifth year of ownership. But most major appliances do not break down within the extended-warranty period. Plus, you might already be covered if you use your credit card to purchase an item (see What You Need to Know About Warranties).

AND FINALLY … DON'T wait until the week before Christmas to shop. Retailers often raise prices because supplies are limited and they know that last-minute shoppers will pay more to purchase all the items on their gift lists.

Reprinted with permission. All Contents ©2011 The Kiplinger Washington Editors.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bonuses For Fannie and Freddie Execs? Sure, Why Not!

Bonuses For Fannie and Freddie Execs? Sure, Why Not!

Oboma keeps saying he is trying to "trim the fat" on spending that can help the budget. Hum, how about NOT giving bonuses to the executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? They are currently in the hole over $168 Million and WHO thinks it is a good idea we give them and other top level executives $10 Million in bonuses right now? Talk about a bail out that nobody is talking about.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mortgage Market Guide Vol. 9 Issue 46

Last Week in Review: The Bond markets may have been closed Friday for Veterans Day, but there was plenty of news before then to keep the volatility churning.

"Should I stay or should I go now?" The Clash. And last week, Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou announced his resignation, a move seen as a way for new government to step in and implement the Euro rescue plan, thereby securing the financing necessary for Greece to avoid default. But that's not the only news story making headlines last week. Read on for the details...and what they could mean for home loan rates.

The European crisis that has been lingering for 18 months continues to develop…and it's not over yet. Lucas Papademos was named as interim Prime Minister of Greece. During his eight years with Greece's Central Bank, he helped the country achieve very strong economic growth rates. But let's not cue the sunset, happy music, and production credits just yet. Greece continues to be a very volatile situation, and continued uncertainty could once again push investors back into the US Dollar and US Bonds...helping home loan rates in the process.

In addition, as the soap opera in Greece continues, eyes have turned squarely towards Italy, whose Bonds yields have spiked on growing concern it is the next Greece. Italy is not in the same dire situation as Greece yet, but their economy is far larger--the world's 7th largest, in fact--and a debt crisis in that region will be much more difficult to contain. To add to the Italian uncertainty, Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is under heavy pressure to resign for a variety of scandalous reasons.

Here at home, another story to watch came on the words from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who stated that the Fed has "considerable latitude" to choose its long-term inflation goal. Although Bernanke didn't elaborate on specifics, the gist of his comment is that the Fed may tolerate higher inflation for a period of time in an attempt to help the economy recover and improve the employment sector.

Remember, the Fed is charged with a dual mandate of (1) controlling inflation as well as (2) supporting job creation. While inflation remains close to the Fed's target range, unemployment is nowhere near where the Fed would want to see it, which is between 5% and 6%. So it appears the Fed may make decisions in the future to improve employment, possibly at the slight expense to inflation.

This is important because inflation is the archenemy of Bonds and home loan rates. So any increase in inflation could negatively impact home loan rates.

The bottom line is that now remains a great time to purchase or refinance a home, as home loan rates are still near historic lows. Let me know if I can answer any questions at all for you or your clients.

Forecast for the Week: A slew of reports are ahead, with news on inflation, manufacturing, retail sales and more.

The markets continue to be volatile, though home loan rates are still near historic lows. As always, I'll be monitoring this situation closely.

The economic calendar was extremely light last week, but look out this week! The markets are set for a slew of reports that will give us a look at the economy across many sectors.

  • Manufacturing news from the Empire State Index (on Tuesday) and Industrial Production (on Wednesday) will be closely watched this week for any signs of a pickup.
  • After his comment last week, Fed Chairman Bernanke will be listening with both ears for any increase in inflation when the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Producer Price Index (PPI) are released. Look for the PPI report to be released Tuesday, followed by the CPI report on Wednesday.
  • Also on Tuesday, we will see how the consumer is holding up when the Retail Sales report is released.
  • Rounding out the week, Initial Jobless Claims will be delivered on Thursday. Last week's report fell below the 400,000 level, which is a good sign but one week doesn't make a pattern.
Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result.

View: The flu is nothing to sneeze at. Learn how you can stay up-to-date on outbreaks near you.

It's that time of year when we turn our attention to the winter season. While there are many things to look forward to such as the holidays, many of us--including you, your clients, or your friends--may also start to worry about the flu. And the cost of the season is nothing to sneeze at! Did you know that Americans spend approximately $4 Billion on over-the-counter cold and flu remedies? That's not even factoring in how much time and productivity is lost on sick-time in the workplace, or co-pays for doctor visits and prescriptions.

But now there's a way you can stay up-to-date on the latest flu information in your area.

The "Flu Near You" Website

The Children's Hospital Boston has partnered with the American Public Health Association and the Skoll Global Threats Fund to bring you the "Flu Near You" website.

On this site, any individual living in the United States who is 13 years of age or older can register to complete brief weekly surveys that may help all of us learn more about the flu. When a case is reported, the map registers a "pin" in the map-and you can even click on that pin to learn more about the symptoms or severity of the case!

Now You Can:

  • See flu activity in your area at the regional or state level
  • Explore flu trends around the world with Google Flu trends
  • Use the "Flu Vaccine Finder" to locate nearby locations offering flu shots or nasal spray flu vaccine
  • Receive customized email disease alerts at your location
  • Learn more about flu news, information, and resources at
  • Check out local public health links
  • Browse the Disease Daily to discover summaries of important outbreaks and expanded coverage through the Outbreaks 101 news section

The site is completely free to use. And the information on the site will be available to public health officials, researchers, disaster planning organizations and anyone else who may find this information useful. So consider registering and using this site today

Want More Local Health Information?

In addition to the Flu Near You map, the Children's Hospital Boston also administers a Healthmap that features information about other health concerns or outbreaks in your community and around the world.

So if you're concerned about the upcoming flu season or other health concerns, take a few minutes to check out the Flu Near You map and the Healthmap.

You may even want to consider passing the information on to your friends, family members, or even your clients.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mortgage Market Guide Vol. 9 Issue 45

Last Week in Review: The volatility out of Europe continued, along with the arrival of Friday's Jobs Report for October.

Forecast for the Week: It's a quiet week when it comes to economic reports, plus the Bond Market is closed Friday for Veterans Day.

View: Don't miss these special deals in honor of America's veterans.

Click here to read the full Mortgage Market Guide

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Federal Reserve Study Flawed. 13% of All U.S. Homes Vacant

The Federal Reserve conducted a study where they essentially pretended to be a mortgage broker, and acted how they thought a mortgage broker would act in order to fabricate the results they were looking for. 13% of all U.S. homes lie vacant.

Federal Reserve Study Flawed. 13% of All U.S. Homes Vacant

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mortgage Market Guide Issue 13

Last Week in Review: Europe and the Treasury Department impacted Bonds. Find out what is all means to home loan rates.

Forecast for the Week: This week will be busy from start to finish...but the biggest news will hit on Friday. Read to learn why at the link below.

View: Mobile phone banking is convenient. But is it safe? Read these tips tp help lower your risk!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Senators Rally to Delay LO Compensation Fed Rule

If you are under the impression that the LO Compensation Fed Rule will only effect mortgage brokers, you would be mistaken. Click the link to view a video with an example of how this will touch each and every mortgage out there. Basically making the "perfect" borrower pay for the "not so perfect" borrowers.

Senators Rally to Delay LO Compensation Fed Rule

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mortgage Market Guide Issue 11

Last Week in Review: Our hearts and minds - as well as the markets - were moved by the tsunami in Japan and unrest in Saudi Arabia. Read how both impacted Bonds and home loan rates!

Forecast for the Week: Double dose after double dose hits the news wires this week. Find out what to watch and why!

View: Discover the pros, cons, and interesting tidbits about Daylight Saving Time, which begins this week.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result.

So what should you do if you or someone you know is in the market for a new home?

The bottom line is that even if housing were to drop a little further in some areas, the affordability coming from today's rates serves as a backstop against any moderate price reduction. Remember, housing will likely be in a much better position in the second half of the year and at that time rates could be a bit higher. Now’s the time to take advantage of the combination of low rates and affordable housing. Call or email today to get started.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) Niche

FHA's Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) could be a great niche for your marketing and quite a cost saver for your clients. Click the link below to view a brief overview of the product.

The FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) Niche

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mortgage Market Guide Issue 10

Last Week in Review: The Jobs Report numbers are in, but did they make us roar with happiness?

Forecast for the Week: It’s a quiet week when it comes to economic reports, but will that be true of events around the world?

View: Thinking of making your home more energy efficient and wondering if you still get a tax break? Rules are different this year - see the details below.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

203k Home Improvement Loans Part 2 of 2

Here is part two. Again, this is a great product for someone wanting to purchase a home that needs a little improvement.

203k Home Improvement Loans Part 2 of 2

203k Home Improvement Loan Part 1 of 2

If you have a client looking at a home that needs improvements to get it to their dream home status, this is the product for them. There are a lot of homes on the market and some need improvements. You need to watch this two part video that will give you a brief rundown of the product.

203k Home Improvement Loan Part 1 of 2

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Market Your Service To More First-Time Home Buyers

First time real estate buyers are some of the most valuable clients out there, and the Internet is your best bet for attracting them. That's because new buyers are generally younger and spend more time doing research before entering the market, all of which adds up to more Internet use. Tech-savvy real estate professionals who can master a few new Internet marketing strategies will have a much easier time connecting with younger buyers, and building their market for the future.

Every real estate professional knows the value of first impressions, and that's why everyone wants to work with first-time buyers. Helping someone buy their first home is not just a huge responsibility, but also a marketing victory. With a successful first-time transaction, real estate professionals put themselves in a position to work with a client again in the future, and have their services referred to friends and family. But like a first home showing, that first transaction has to leave behind positive imagery and something to look forward to, otherwise the buyer will look somewhere else next time.

A strong Internet presence with a well designed, well written, and useful website is the most effective online marketing tool, and most tech-savvy Realtors will already have this. The advantage to already having a good website is that you can build on it, or use it as a central resource linking to your new marketing tools.

Many real estate professionals and developers are also realizing the benefits of online television in marketing property to younger buyers. Popular examples of this marketing tactic have included sitcom webisodes, real estate agent walk-thrus, and reality-TV style interviews with current homeowners. One online television series called Donovan Life told the story of a young professional woman who moved into a new downtown condo (the development being marketed) with her best friend. Like a television series featuring product placement, the Will and Grace-style Donovan Life managed to create a branded environment, and market a particular lifestyle. The series was a hit with younger buyers, and the development sold out quickly.

Tech savvy real estate professionals have also had a lot of success marketing to younger buyers with social networking. For example, instead of contacting leads via phone of sending mass emails, real estate professionals can simply set up a Facebook page and advertise their services. Clients tend to react well to this approach because it's more transparent, and doesn't require any personal information on their part - essentially it's the same thing as a website.

It's also important to keep in mind that these marketing tactics work well other groups besides young buyers. With more than 80 per cent of buyers and sellers using the Internet first in their real estate search, broadening your online presence is guaranteed to expand your market.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Determine The Listing Price

When it comes to buying a home, most potential buyers will use the listing price to as the number one factor to determine the homes that they look at. Even though you and a realtor may determine the asking price, the buyer will determine the selling price. If the price is too high, most buyers won’t give it a second thought - which is why you want to determine the listing price carefully.

If you set the correct price, you’ll notice a much faster sale. Setting the right listing price will also attract more potential buyers to your property as well. You’ll also notice an increase in response from realtors, and receive more calls about the property. The listing price is very important - and it can ultimately determine whether or not you sale your property.

A home can be overpriced due to several reasons. Overpricing is something you want to avoid, as buyers tend to steer clear of homes that have been overpriced. Normally, this happens when a buyer asks a lot more than the home is worth or valued at. Some buyers ask a lot more than the value of the home due to location. Although the location is very important, most potential buyers won’t give the home a second look if they think the price is too high - and more importantly out of their price range.

When you put your home up for sale, most activity will happen within the first couple of weeks. If you put the right price on your home, you’ll notice immediate interest. There are always buyers looking for homes in their price range, waiting for new homes to be listed or homes to be reduced in price. Buyers who are waiting to purchase may miss seeing your home completely if the price is too high.

To determine the listing price of your home, you should always have it appraised before you put it on the market. This way, you’ll know the full value of your home. You can sell it for market value or go a little under, although you should never attempt to go way over the value. In doing so, you’ll miss out on a lot of potential buyers. The home market is very competitive these days, which is why you want your home to draw as much interest as possible. Let me know if you need a referral for a certified appraiser in your area. This may be the best investment you can make prior to listing your home if you are unsure what price to list for your property.

Keep in mind that realtors really have no control at all over the real estate market, only the plan behind marketing. Realtors don’t determine the asking price - the seller does. You can ask a realtor for advice, although you are the decider of your listing price. If you do things right and take each thing step by step, you’ll set the listing price in the right area and have no problems selling your property.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mortgage Market Guide Issue 9

Last week in Review: Mortgage Bonds were pushed and pulled by fear and uncertainty. Read what it means to home loan rates.

Forcast for the Week: It doesn't get much bigger than this! Here's a sneal peek of high-impact reports due out this week.

View: You could slash your tax bill by up to $1,000 for each qualifying child! Read this week's guide for more information.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Marketing-The Foundation of Success in Real Estate

Making it big in the real estate business takes a lot of hard work. In fact, it is presumably harder than most businesses you could get into. But, the other side of the coin is that the rewards earned in this business are far greater than that earned in any other average business.

You have a tremendous earning potential in the real estate business if you create an effective system for accomplishing the mundane repeated task of your business to earn higher returns.

But generally, people flock towards this business by just keeping the profit range in mind and the common perception is that all you need to do in this business is to sell a house and maintain good network to earn profit. But this is not true, as some investors who know everything about the real estate business sometimes only manage to earn average.

The main secret to succeed in this business lies in the techniques used by the sellers. As a real estate investor, you need to attract the sellers and for this you need good marketing techniques. Your business will thrive on the marketing techniques you imply to attract customers. So start thinking like a marketer and try and develop new strategies to dominate the market and captivate the customers. To attain constant success, you must adapt new marketing strategies combined with other business skills. Besides marketing, you should also have good negotiating and convincing skills.

Firstly, you have to understand the concept of marketing and the way it works to make the best out of marketing. While applying a marketing strategy, you can try the conventional and random approach. The only hitch in this approach is that you can only interact with limited number of sellers and very often, the costs incurred are very high on telephones and advertisements. This process can be very draining, as it sometimes leaves you with nothing, neither the money nor the customer.

The support of the media results in a very systematic and organized approach to attract large number of sellers and it also provides a significant impact on your business. Other cost-effective methods to draw huge responses are through the Internet, television, radio and classifieds in the newspapers. By using the media, you dont have to chase the customers and instead, the customers who are interested in selling will step forward and contact you.

The marketing strategy works well under any given market conditions and also helps to establish direct contact with the potential customers. It draws genuine customers and those who qualify to meet your criteria for the final deal. Once you have a listing of the potential sellers, you can concentrate on your other business skills to close offers. This method of direct marketing is highly cost effective and saves your precious time by targeting only potential customers.

The deadliest duo in the real estate business is the real estate agent and the mortgage broker, who combined with their marketing skills, can cross any business hurdle. They both focus on the adopted path of their business and also give each other business.

Once you know the market, you can maintain a constant flow of prospective sellers and earn huge profits by putting in minimum effort.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Get Over The Fear of Networking

It's a fact that most of the business that is conducted today is the direct result of network marketing efforts. Most people have to see a product or service advertisement seven times before they will buy, but are more likely to purchase much sooner if a friend, family member, colleague, or some person of influence refers them to that product or service.

It's the fear factor that drives most small business people away from networking.

Public speaking is the issue I'm going to discuss today, and I make it really rather simple. If I can do it anyone can. Practice the steps listed below.

1. You are a professional and what do professionals do? They study and they practice their craft. So step one is the most important, practice at every free moment of the day. Practice to where you have it down without even thinking about it, until it becomes natural.

2. Get plenty of rest prior to an event and have your materials already prepared no later then the night before.

3. While on the way to an event, you need to do 2 things. You need to relax and start getting motivated. To steal a line from Happy Gilmore, "go to your happy place".

Now here's the real secret. How to network without rejection. Well you first have to realize that your not there to sell everyone in the room. In fact your not there to sell anyone at all. The purpose of networking is seeing how you can help others and they, in turn, can help you. Now if you get a client out of this then great, but it's not the objective. Now knowing that your not there to sell anyone, then no one can reject you. Follow the instruction below to develop your own 30-second spiel.

1. Hello my name is (your name) and I'm with (your company name)

2. This is important! Do not simply say the type of business you are in. Instead you want to create a 1 to 2-sentence statement of what your business does. Example "We help families create wonderful summer memories while staying cool and refreshed."

3. Tell them 1 or 2 important facts or typical hot buttons your clients will have.

4. Well the only thing left is to tell them who makes the perfect client for you and in a rejection free statement if they know anyone to please have them contact you. Remember you are there not to sell them, but to find those that can help you to find more leads and you are there to help them.

5. Try to keep it to no more than 30 seconds.

Now you have the tools to be able to network without rejection and without fear.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Why Good Clients Don't Always Give Referrals

Despite being delighted with your services and eager to share you with their friends, even good clients miss opportunities to give referrals. This is caused by entropy, inertia, and inconvenience. Basically, most clients will not inconvenience themselves to give a referral – they may postpone giving it, or forget it altogether.

Common reasons why referrals may fall through the cracks:

  • The client thought of another business provider to refer (“Let me think, I believe Tony’s sister is in that business…”)
  • The client had no easy way to pass contact information (“I don’t have her number on me. I’ll send it to you when I get home”)
  • The client forgets to give the referral
  • The referral-receiver lost or forgot about the referral
  • The referral-receiver has indefinitely postponed making the contact, due to lack of time or attention, or a change in their own schedule (“I’ll do it later when I’m not busy”)
  • The referral-receiver is too busy, too nervous, or misinformed to initiate contact
  • Another person gave the referral-receiver another contact before they had a chance to call the business person
  • The client had no incentive to give a referral

What is required to get a referral often ends up being a grand coincidence. For example - a friend asks for a referral AND the referral-giver happens to remember AND the referral-giver happens to have your business card on them. In this example, inconvenience wasn’t a problem. As soon as one of these factors is inhibited, the referral is lost.

Savvy independent business people know the value of referral business – most thrive on it. Even though customers are often delighted to give referrals, there are many that fall through the cracks because of the customer’s natural sense of avoiding inconvenience. By using Referral Marketing, marketers can improve their odds of gaining more referrals and encourage referral-giving behavior – resulting in more referral business and a better bottom line.

Contact me for more information about the program I use that allows you to "click it and forget it". Meaning, once you input your client’s information and the campaign you want them in, it will send your marketing piece to them, asking for referrals with a click of the mouse. It also sends birthdays, holidays, and their yearly review reminder for you. Allowing you more time to build your business.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Marketing Real Estate To Generation Jones

The Baby Boomers are a well-known demographic that is moving into retirement, but real estate agents should also pay attention to the Boomer’s younger sibling, “Generation Jones” as named by historian Jonathan Pontell. Generation Jones is the demographic born between 1954 and 1965 and now comprising 25% of the U.S. population. Their roots are definitely practical, but their branches keep reaching for the sky. A balanced approach that meets both these needs is what is best to attract Jones’ formidable real estate buying power.

The Baby Boomers are the demographic of people born just post-World War II, from the 1940s to the 1960s. America was “booming” in postwar prosperity and in population. Generation Jones is the younger generation, those born in the latter half of what is known as the “Boomer years”. The term “keeping up with the Joneses” comes from this generation. They grew up with the advent of technology and in the midst of the spirit of social change. They are technologically savvy, being the first of the generations to grow up with television in the background. They want the better life that The American Dream promises, but many have yet to see that materialize.

Generation Jones is seeing retirement on the horizon, but many of them have children at home still and no plans to actually stop working. While they might retire from their jobs in the next 10-20 years, they have a lot to do right now. Many of them are looking at working beyond retirement. This may be the last larger home they purchase before they start downsizing once the last child leaves the nest.

Your real estate selling strategy has to combine genuine value with innovation to appeal to this generation’s appreciation of material goods and services. “Green” appliances and features appeal to them because they want to produce a better world while still enjoying the conveniences of today’s inventions. They want open design concepts and a flexible living space. They appreciate the tried-and-true classics, but if there’s something out there that’s better then they’re all for it.

Despite this openness to technological innovation, though, Jones can be emotionally attracted by appeals to nostalgia. Tasteful references to the 70s and the 80s – in color, design and popular culture can capture their interest. There are a number of fan sites for “retro renovation” of mid- and late-century homes and rooms. By offering information on modern renovations for retro homes, you could be in a good position to attract Generation Jones.

One thing about Generation Jones to avoid is the “B.S. Detector”. Having been a generation bombarded by ads since before they could toddle, Jones people are adept at seeing exaggerated claims and outright lies in a sales pitch. When something looks too good to be true, Generation Jones people are sure it’s not and will go the extra mile to prove their suspicions right. Be honest. If the roof is about to slide into the garden, say so.

The value of a home as a center, not just for family and financial stability, but for one’s hobbies and aspirations is a good point to take with Generation Jones. They are old enough to know that you can’t have it all, but young enough in our culture to know you can have what you’re willing to reach for. If you can lure someone from Generation Jones with genuine value while appealing to their sense of aesthetics, you are in a good position to make a sale

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Guide To Avoid Mortgage Mistakes

I have been asked to share my guide to the masses and I agree, more people need to be aware of what is out there. Today I am attaching a link to get access to download my free "Guide To Avoid Mortgage Mistakes". Please feel free to send a copy to any friends, family, co-workers or clients that are looking to purchase or refinance their home. This will show them that you care about their finances and can go a long way in future referals. If you or your client would prefer I mail them a "hard" copy, just contact me and I would be happy to pop one out in the mail. Have a productive day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Three Best Real Estate Marketing Tools In The World

Wow! Some real estate agents pay $300.00-$400.00 per month for leads.

Is there a cheaper, yet equally effective way to get leads to grow your business?

Absolutely, but how do you find them?

Below are three simple, but proven real estate marketing tools and strategies that'll get you securing more leads than you'll be able to handle. In fact, you could end up with so many you'll start your own "Team Dynamo".

Build A List

The name of the real estate marketing game nowadays is capturing the names and email addresses of everybody you meet to develop your own list of responsive buyers and sellers.

Why? Because with email addresses you can market to folk on your mailing list until the cows come home...and for next to nothing.

Regular postage is .41 cents a letter, sending the same letter via email is free. If you mail 500 letters it would cost $205.00 in postage, plus the cost of printing, paper and envelopes. You could easily be out of $225.00 - $250.00 for so for just one mailing.

Now, contrast that with emailing the same list of folk, no postage, paper or envelopes required.

Total cost? Nothing.

Hopefully the point is understood. While there are certainly times and places for direct mail campaigns, so too are there for email marketing campaigns.

But list building is a slow process and typically doesn't result in quick sales. Instead, know that as you acquire names over a period of months, then years, you'll have long-term prospects that'll come to trust you and your opinions and seek you out when they're ready to make real estate transactions.
Currently I am using a software program that sends a weekly email to my clients and business partners. All I need to do is add a new name, email address and which campaign I want them to be in. From that point on they are getting a weekly, or what ever timeframe you want, emails with useful information and a request for referrals with a one click button at the bottom of the email. It also includes birthdays and holidays. I even co-brand with my referral partners with their picture and information on every email for clients they referred to me. So we BOTH get our name in front of past clients and asking for referrals constantly. An added benefit I provide to all my referral partners.

Real Estate Marketing Reports

The buzz on the Internet is all about content marketing. The premise is that Internet surfers are looking for information, and are not necessarily looking for you and/or otherwise interested in what you have to sell.

Instead, they are wanting and seeking information to help guide them in their quests to buy and sell real estate. No wonder the most successful lead generating web sites are those that offer an abundance and diversity of information.

There's an old saying that goes "he who gives shall receive" and it is as true today as ever.

Agents who give away information, like information found in pre-written real estate marketing reports, are rewarded by prospects eagerly exchanging their email addresses for the information contained in the reports.

And the outcome? Prospects will continue to come back to you again and again until they're ready to buy or sell real estate. And guess who'll be there ready and able to help them?

Multiple Streams of Leads

Perhaps the best advice I can give anybody is this; do not put all of your leads in one basket. Instead, diversify your lead generating strategies for more listings and sales.

Leads and listings can be gotten via nearly every way imaginable, including but not limited to direct mail campaigns, real estate marketing flyers, post card marketing, networking, buyer and seller seminars, FSBO, etc.

While each approach offers its unique advantages and disadvantages they all work.


There you have it, three real estate marketing tools and strategies that can push your marketing success to new heights.

Get started today with either one, or all of these to increase your income. For more information about the email marketing campaign I use or if you would like me to add you clients to a joint campaign for free, just contact me.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Have You Ever Made This Mistake?

Today I have a great little story for you with a great take home message!

There was a bakery with a large clock on the inside wall that faced out towards the sidewalk. The baker noticed that every morning an older gentleman walked by, took out his pocket watch and set the time according to his wall clock. This went on for over 10 years.

One day the baker was waiting outside when the gentleman with the pocket watch came up to perform his daily ritual. After watching the gentleman set his watch, the baker spoke to him. "I have watched you set your pocket watch to my clock every morning for the last 10 years. I was wondering why you do this?" "Well", the gentleman responded, "I am the foreman at the lumber yard, 2 blocks north of here and I am responsible for setting the time clock whistle to 5:00 o'clock so that all the workers in the yard know that it's quitting time. So I set my watch to your clock each morning to make sure it is accurate."

The baker stood back in shock. "Oh my", he replied. "I have been setting my clock to that whistle every day for the last 10 years."

The point of this story is this: know who you are following and that they know what they are talking about!

This is absolutely critical in today's real estate market. When you are working with a lender, you cannot afford to work with a rookie, a non-expert. I frequently have agents tell me, "I am showing houses to someone this weekend, but they are already pre-qualified."

Unfortunately I also receive the last minute phone calls. "My people are no longer qualified or the lender can't get the job done or the lender changed the program and added a bunch of fees that were not disclosed in the beginning", and so on.

Here is my suggestion. When your clients tell you they are re-qualified you tell them this. "Mr. & Mrs. Buyer, I'm so glad you have already had someone go over the numbers with you. I know that buying a home is a big deal and probably one of the largest financial investments that you will ever make. And just like you need a second opinion before having surgery, I would feel more comfortable if you got a second opinion with this also. I want to make sure that what you have been quoted is accurate, and that the numbers are legitimate. I know a great mortgage person. This guy is the real deal, a real expert; I'm going to have him give you a call. Is the morning or afternoon better for you?"

Now you have just given them another value added service, AND you have also saved yourself from wasting time by driving around someone that is not really qualified, or who is going to walk away from the deal because the financing is different from what they were quoted.

You cannot afford to make these big mistakes in today's market. I see rookies make this mistake all the time, and shake my head when even seasoned pros make it too. I just want to make sure you are setting your clock to the right whistle. My service costs nothing, it let's your client know you are doing what's in their best interest, and it can save your commission check and your reputation with other agents.

This is a real no brainer and is something that has been implemented by most of the top agents. So call me or email me to provide a 1st or 2nd opinion for your next client.

Well, thanks for letting me help and as always have a productive day!

Sincerly, Jason