Tag: realestate

Opportunity is Spelled E-Q-U-I-T-Y


While cruising through Instagram recently, I came across a post that indicated 37% of homeowners in the United States THINK they have more than 20% equity while, in reality, 74% ACTUALLY have more than 20% equity.  Since this was social media, of course, I accepted this fully at face value.  The creators of such services have nothing but altruistic intentions, right?

However, I knew that if I didn’t dig a little deeper into the claims of this cute little post by a very nice real estate agent, I wouldn’t have anything more to write about in this week’s newsletter – and I certainly didn’t want to let anyone down.  I quickly found the source of the statistics being quoted – Fannie Mae and CoreLogic– and dug up some other tidbits that you might find interesting.  (Let’s be honest: if you’re still reading this, I’ve either captured your interest or you’re sitting at your 7-year-old’s soccer game with nothing to do because the game has been temporarily halted so the goalkeeper can fix the ribbon in her hair.)

In an update to CoreLogic’s report, that 74% has climbed to 79.1%. Please don’t make me do the math on how many people that 5.1% increase represents, but I’m pretty sure it’s somewhere between a “boatload” and “gazillion”.  Either way, that’s a lot of people you as real estate agents can help sell their current homes and look for new ones.  Let’s do a little trivia here, just to keep things light.

While Arkansas has the lowest percentage (67.3%) of homeowners with more than 20% equity, which state has the highest percentage (91.9%) with more than 20% equity?

A. Tennessee

B. Iowa

C. Texas

D. Utah

If you guessed Utah, your love for the Mormons is duly noted, but you’d be wrong.  The folks in Texas are the winners in this one.  On their boot-covered heels are Oregon at 89.2% and Washington at 88.0%.

These stats and numbers are fine and dandy, but what’s the point in trotting them out there for all to see?  (Warning: shameless commercial is imminent.)  We have a system in place to help our real estate agents know when their clients’ homes have reached and exceeded that 20% equity threshold.  If you’ve been in the business for a few years, that database of clients is pretty hefty.  Rather than your having to go through that list client by client and figuring out whose equity is where, we can do the work for you and let you know when each client has reached that magic number.  Isn’t that what a mortgage partner SHOULD be doing for you (you know, when we’re not cruising around on Instagram looking for cat photos and trying to decide if the dress is blue or gold)?  Work smarter by letting us work harder for you.

Only a Passport


Do you have a family member or friend from another country who wants to buy a home here in the United States?  Now, the only thing they need to qualify is their passport.

No income verification.  No reserves.  Just 30% down and an international credit report or letter of good standing with their current financial institution.

This applies to second homes, non-owner occupied residences, and 1-4 unit properties.

This is not a guarantee of eligibility; simply a blog entry to let you know we have far more than the vanilla-flavored loan options.

Peace, Love & Tacos: A Homeowners’ Guide

Neighborhood Regret.  While that sounds more like a name for an ‘80s cover band who plays the Starlight Lounge at your local Holiday Inn on Tuesday evenings, it’s a term I came across in a recent article about how homeowners feel about the areas in which they purchase their homes.  Wakefield Research conducted a survey of 1,000 “Americans” (I’m honestly not sure if they asked to see proof of citizenship, but in today’s political climate, you never know), and 36% of homebuyers who recently moved regret the neighborhood in which they purchased.  In that same survey, 77% don’t believe there’s a reliable way to find complete neighborhood information in order to find the perfect neighborhood. (I have news for them, there’s a 100% fact there’s no such thing as a “perfect” neighborhood, but I digress.)

The point that 36% of homebuyers regret their neighborhood choice isn’t all that surprising, right?  What I did find interesting, though, was that the study indicated that both commute time and crime rate were big factors of consideration for the perfect neighborhood, but they tied for second at 37%.  What topped the list as the most important consideration in the deciding factor for neighborhood choice at 48%?  “Vibe”.  Yes, you read that correctly.  How in the name of all things holy and real-estate-related do you classify and quantify “vibe” in a neighborhood (peace, love, and a friendly HOA)?  While I’m sort of shaking my head because you can’t objectively define “vibe”, I have to admit that I get what they mean at an instinctual level.  Lack of social activity in an area, as well as street noise, frequent traffic, and lack of public transportation, were cited as reasons for homebuyer unhappiness. Here’s where it gets even weirder.

While buyers have said they want reliable sources of information on a neighborhood before purchasing a home, less than 40% searched for photos of other parts of the neighborhood. Also, even though safety ranked second on the list of items causing neighborhood regret, three quarters of homeowners did absolutely no research on crime statistics or police reports before purchasing and moving into their homes.  Further, almost half of them never visited their potential new home at night before making that purchase and move.  That’s sort of like going to McDonald’s and asking the pimply-faced teenager working the register to craft a list of dining options for you that will both help you lose weight and improve your complexion.

As we all know, while we as mortgage and real estate folks ever endeavor to provide buyers with facts and intelligence on which to base their choices, the purchase of a home is ultimately an emotional decision 99% of the time.  This doesn’t mean that we should abandon our fact-based approach – in fact, we should probably double our efforts and take a cue from this study and compile a packet with neighborhood photos and safety statistics.  Then, we might want to insist on taking them out to the neighborhood in the evening. If we’re lucky, we’ll roll up on a block party, and they’ll be serving street tacos – no one can regret tacos, right?

Topless Professionals – Nope


Fads come and go, certainly, but you can’t always tell the difference in the moment between a fad and a trend – because refusing to adapt to the trends can be limiting . . . if not disastrous.  Let me share a couple of examples where failing to see where things were headed didn’t turn out well.

  • An engineer presented the idea of a “filmless camera” to the executives at Kodak back in 1975, but they laughed him to scorn.  In 2012, Kodak was forced to file for bankruptcy because they failed to adapt to the digital world. 
  • We all know Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, but how many of us recognize the name of Ron Wayne (and, no, that’s not Batman’s brother)?  Ronny was the third founding member of Apple, and he sold his 10% stake in the company in 1976 for $1500.  His shares would now be worth over $50 billion. 
  • WAY BACK in 2000, Reed Hastings approached Blockbuster and offered to sell Netflix for $50 million.  Blockbuster turned Hastings down.  Netflix is now worth over $100 billion, and Blockbuster . . . isn’t. 

One of the current and undeniable factors directly affecting the real estate/mortgage world is social media.  Is this one of those adapt-or-die trends, or is it a fad that will be replaced by something else and relegated to the dustbin of history along with pet rocks and fidget spinners?  Well, let me hit you with some knowledge that I’ve gleaned from some pretty hefty research.

  • A recent study found that posting a photo of your coffee in a Starbucks mug/cup on Monday mornings increases your reach by 39%.  Including a pet in the photo along with emojis gives you a boost of an additional 12%.  Conversely, if the photo contains images of a cactus or other succulents, this will reduce your reach by 17%. 
  • The University of Leeds conducted a poll and found that people who post photos of themselves shirtless (men) or in yoga pants (women) are perceived to be 58% more credible in their posts and the information they provide.  A subset of that same study included real estate agents, and the shirtless/yoga-pants-wearing individuals sold 23% more properties.
  • In Australia, The Sydney Timespublished a report that demonstrated that of those who take photos of their food and publish those photos on social media, the individuals who posted more than a majority of vegan offerings were found to be devious and not trustworthy. 

As you let this soak in, and you take stock ofyour own personal/professional social media profile, let me add this last piece of information: I just made up those three items to underscore my point.  Social media are definitely here to stay, and refusing to use them can and will limit whom you reach, but to think of them as the silver bullet is wrong headed – it still comes down to knowledge, skill, and performance.  So keep your shirts on, wear something a little more comfortable, and eat a steak occasionally.