If you’ve been vacationing this summer, you may have noticed when you returned to the office that rates have risen considerably. You might have also noticed that applications have fallen for the 10th time in the last 11 weeks and are down 64 percent since May of this year. So what does all this mean for your business? Well, that completely depends on you.
During these peaks and valleys in our industry, it is always important to realize that the numbers will always change and the overall media will reflect this. Layoffs and mergers will happen and adaptation will occur. The most important thing you can pay attention to is YOUR business and not others. While applications are down and interest rates are up, your pipeline does not have to suffer over these national numbers and averages, unless of course you feel that you are average.
If you have not noticed, licensed mortgage loan originator numbers are down historically and home sales are up. You might also notice monthly data in your area on how many homes have sold and the potential for you to capture more market share. The business is out there, but you have to be confident that you are great at what you do. Here are a few simple ways you can prepare and focus on this purchase market:
►Don’t market or target refinances. Let’s face it, a few refinances may trickle in, but we’re in a purchase market and your pipeline should reflect primarily all homebuyers. Take the refinances as they come, but don’t waste your time and effort trying to pluck the hairs off a bald man.
►Spread your positive reputation. Create strategies and unique ideas to capture more market share and referral business. Build your online and offline presence and focus on your brand and reputation through client promotion and testimonials. Document all professional sources of referrals and where more diversity needs to be created and what sections need more focus for volume should they be lacking.
►Never stop learning. Read every day. Listen every day. Never stop learning, thinking and creating. Be open-minded and work with others who motivate and inspire you through positivity and support. A good idea can result in excitement, but the action can produce a fortune.
►Only work with good people. Don’t waste your time chasing bad real estate agents and only work with an agent you would refer. Build relationships and trust for referrals and a positive outcome for your client. Avoid any joint ventures or unethical nonsense, and remember that you only work for the consumer’s interests. It’s a good idea also to pull an agent’s production over the last 12 months by requesting it from your local title company. This will put how active they are into perspective and will help you better figure out just where to invest your time.
►As always, monitor your finances. Plan for the worst and expect the best. Always strive to have liquid reserves and savings of at least six months’ living expenses at all times to deal with any unforeseen volatility in volume. Remain as liquid as possible and pay cash for everything other than real estate for housing or investment if applicable. Don’t allow debt to result in poor short-term career decisions.
Homebuyers are all around you … get out there and get focused!
Andy W. Harris, CRMS is president and owner of Lake Oswego, Ore.-based Vantage Mortgage Group Inc. and 2010-2011 president of the Oregon Association of Mortgage Professionals. He may be reached by phone at (877) 496-0431 or e-mail [email protected]
or visit AndyWHarris.com.