In the not-too-distant past, marketing and advertising were costly and, quite often, labor-intensive (which means “costly”). With social media being readily available and free to everyone, that significantly evened the score for everyone involved. So, instead of having a handful of players who have the money and means to go after a target audience, we now have everybody and their dogs (and cats) going after that same target audience. In other words, the lake remained the same size, but now we’re cheek by jowl full of people casting in their lines and nets to catch a fish.
That doesn’t mean that when Kyle posts “hey if you know someone who is looking to buy or sell a house, let me know” it’s equally effective and persuasive as when Karen creates a multi-media ad featuring pretty people and flashy graphics, but it does mean that both of them are waiting for someone to come to them. In light of this, I recently taught a class to some real estate agents in different ways to create customers rather than marketing to buyers and hoping the buyer will call or email them.
I’m not going to go over the different items we covered (I’m not bitter) mainly because it was a lot of back-and-forth discussion and brainstorming. What I will say, though, is that each and every idea we discussed boiled down to agents and lenders LITERALLY working together to CREATE customers. This doesn’t mean Lender A buys a bunch of leads and sends them over to Realtor B to cull through them and see if any of them are any good. Nor does it mean that Realtor A is going to send out a mailer with Lender B paying for half the costs.
Near the end of our discussion, one of the agents in the class asked that I create a very simple chart that outlined the P&I payment for a certain loan amount in relation to a particular interest rate. For those of you who just rolled their eyes after reading that last sentence, I will agree that such a chart already exists, isn’t that hard to get, and isn’t all that sexy or persuasive. But I will tell you this: it fits perfectly into a plan we had come up with together that will CREATE customers rather than market to people who are already on the hunt for a home (and who every other agent and their menagerie of pets are also trying to attract).
For grins and giggles, I’m including that non-sexy chart. Give me a call if you want me to include your branding on that chart or if you want me to schedule a time to sit down with you and a handful of your fellow agents and go over this brainstorming session on how to create customers. I’m here to help!
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with a person who is new to being a real estate agent but not new to selling a house. Our conversation turned to the subject of her own home that she and her husband were about to put on the market. She wanted to know what mortgage options were available to potential buyers. That’s because her home would list for approximately $550,000. FHA, wouldn’t be an option because the loan amount caps out further south than $550,000 – she knew that. But what about the VA? She started to say that she knew the cap on a VA loan. While not as low as FHA, it was still not high enough to enable someone to buy her home using that option. Not true – not entirely.
One of the great benefits of a VA loan is the fact the buyer isn’t required to put any money down. But like many benefits, there’s a limit. In the case of a VA loan, that limit is $484,350 (unless the house is in a high-cost area). Let’s take patriotism aside. A difference of $65,650 between the limit and the asking price in my new agent friend’s case is a tad beyond negotiation. In this case, a VA loan is still a very viable option. So I urged my new friend that she should say in her listing that she accepts VA loan offers. Unlike unicorns and politicians who don’t have an ego, there IS such a thing as a VA Jumbo Loan – no myth!
Caps when dealing with VA Loans
While there’s a cap of $484,350. That cap applies to the amount up to which the borrower will not have to come in with a down payment. With a VA Jumbo Loan, the borrower is only required to bring in 25% of the DIFFERENCE. That’s between the loan limit and the buy price. In my friend’s case, that difference is $65,650. That means a VA borrower could buy her home with a down payment of ONLY $16,412.50. Yes, you read that exactly. For less than 3% of the sale price, a VA borrower could use their benefit and buy that house.
On my friend’s listing, it’s imperative that she states that VA loan offers work. The main reason is that more than the majority of agents are like she was before our meeting. And don’t believe it’s even an option. I didn’t get a finance degree from Harvard (although I did buy a t-shirt there once). But, I’m certain that increasing the number of potential buyers for your property is a good thing.
Pulling credit. For numerous reasons, when I’m in the middle of taking a mortgage application, and I ask the borrower for her/his social security number, I often get these responses:
“Do you really need to pull my credit?”
“Can we wait to pull my credit until . . . ?”
“I’m not comfortable giving that to you.”
They don’t flinch when I ask them how much money they make or what they have in the way of monthly debts, but when I ask for their social, you’d think I was asking for intimate measurements or nuclear launch codes. They forget that they came to me (I wasn’t standing on the street corner soliciting) in search of the amount for which they can qualify.
In today’s environment, though, many of us as agents and originators are actively soliciting people’s business – we’re not just waiting for our phones to ring or our inboxes to fill. Because of this go-on-the-offense behavior, we want to be very careful that we’re not being lumped in with Zillow and other marketing monsters who are just looking to grow a database that can be sold or leveraged.
To that end, we’ve come up with a new way to help pulling credit scores without buyers having to share their social security number OR their birth date. Additionally, it’s a soft pull, which means it has NO EFFECT on their current scores. When you as an agent come across a buyer who is reluctant to have her/his credit pulled, sometimes you’re sitting precariously on the horns of a dilemma because you don’t want to show them houses until they know what they’re qualified to purchase, but you don’t want to let them go and get scooped up by another agent. Because of that, we give you this service to keep in your back pocket and keep them in your sphere.
This is the essence of 21st-century customer service: protecting your clients’ privacy while providing you with value. Give us a call so we can show you how this is done – you’ll be glad you did.
Recently, I came across a post on Facebook. This was by an agent that purported to show why it’s so much smarter for a seller to use a realtor versus an iBuyer. This is new. Being “in the business” I knew this to be a truth as incontrovertible as water is wet and fire burns. I’m not the intended audience for this post, but I was curious to read through it. To see how she chose to prove this incontrovertible truth.
From the outset, the post recognizes that there are some things about using an iBuyer. This can be attractive to a seller. Chief of which is the “convenience” of being able to close the transaction in a matter of days. In fact, the headline reads “Is the convenience worth the cost?” Cool. Then it goes on to outline other figures with sales prices, commissions, service charges, and so on. This is where the wheels fall off the proverbial bus. At the bottom of the post, below the pertinent numbers, you see two figures. One is “Total Net using a Realtor”. The other is “Total Net using an iBuyer”, both followed by numbers with NEGATIVE signs. So, should I consider a realtor versus an iBuyer?
Even though I’m “in the business”, I had to stop and readjust my brain. I did this to put these numbers into context and see what they meant. After I did that, I immediately thought your average seller is going to think about two things after reading it. What? Selling a house is a NEGATIVE experience with or without an agent, less negative with an agent – weird. The POSITIVE message of the entire post was completely lost. The questions posed in the headline (“Is the convenience worth the cost?”) go unanswered. Because whoever created the post was trying too hard to be too clever by half.
I’m inserting here a version of the Facebook post that actually answers the question. This leaves EVERYONE with a clear understanding of why it’s better to sell through a Realtor. Additionally, how much more money can be generated with the Realtor’s help? If you want something like this for posting on social media, here’s what to do. Send an email to email@example.com, and I’ll brand it for you and send it back in a post-friendly format.
In this business, we all use jargon and terminology when we’re communicating with one another. It’s faster in most cases. But the moment we’re standing in front of a customer we need to stop talking “Nerd” and use English. This ensures everyone understands one another. Additionally, it makes the customer feel more comfortable. that we’re not talking down to them or over their heads. Communication only takes place when the message is UNDERSTOOD. If not, then we’re all a bunch of Talking Heads, and we need to START making sense.
For any more information or direction on this subject get in contact with Priority Lending LLC today.
Since the Fed’s announcement last week and the ongoing . . . uneasiness surrounding a trade war with China, the markets have been a little less than settled. And that’s been a very good thing for interest rates. In real estate and mortgage circles, I’m not hearing any complaining.
What we do continue to hear, though, are borrowers thinking out loud about how much lower the rates can go and whether they should act now or wait. Speaking for myself, I’m not a wizard of wall street, and I don’t have a crystal ball to tell me exactly where rates will be at 10:37 a.m. on September 2, 2019, so I will admit that my GUESS about what rates will or won’t do is just a guess. Now, I’ve been doing this long enough and surround myself with some VERY SMART people so I have experience and resources to have a fairly good idea where things are headed.
With that said, let’s get back to all the financial armchair quarterbacks who are stuck in analysis paralysis. I’m going to share one thought with you that one of those very smart people I know has shared with many. It’s not meant to give you any additional insight into what the market will or won’t do – it’s simply intended to act as a loving but resolute slap in the face and snap you out of your self-induced trance. Here it is:
“Don’t fight for an extra eighth down in rate unless you’re willing to lose a quarter.”
We will always seek out the very best rate for you and your borrowers for obvious reasons, and we’ll lock it when it’s to your advantage. We’ve done this a couple of times before. In many cases, we have a “float down” option so that even after the rate is locked, if market conditions change favorably between the lock and when we close, we can float the rate down to take advantage of the favorable change. On the flip side, if you’re trying to outguess the market and want us to hold off because you THINK it’ll drop from 3.875 to 3.75, that may not end the way you hope it will – the market, like a three-year-old, is unpredictable. Let us do a little babysitting for you so you can enjoy the experience of buying a home!
Contact Priority Lending LLC for any help today. Click here to get started.