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The Elite Performer: Spring Forward

Andy W. Harris
Aug 06, 2014

It’s that special time of year again when flowers are blooming, eyes are itching and spring is in the air. The 2014 housing market can certainly use a little sun to get buyers more active and sellers motivated to list and grow inventory after a slow start to the year. From talking with many colleagues in the industry, February was one of the slowest months many have experienced in recent history. Big regulatory changes in the mortgage sector are now a reality, and we’re in a new era of residential mortgage financing. The expectation by most experts in the housing market is that 2014 will be a slow and steady year of growth for real estate, but not entirely notable. Certainly interest rates and job numbers will play a role in trends this year. I believe we have already seen a large increase in buyer activity and accepted purchase agreements in March and similar trends heading into April. I also believe this trend will continue through the remainder of the year. With the tax season over and the first quarter in rear view, it’s time to “spring forward” into 2014 with determination.  Here are a few tips that can assist in having a successful 2014: Control the six inches between your ears If you have a big head … maybe it’s eight inches. Every day you make a choice to allow positive or negative influences to enter your thoughts. Industry news this year is rarely positive so you must find opportunity behind the message. Compressed margins, higher compliance costs, lower volume, and competition are flooding the mortgage market this year. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) just announced that the average profit reported at $150 per loan is 93 percent lower than one year ago and the lowest on record since they started tracking in 2008. So what does this mean to you? The optimist may think there will be less competition, while the pessimist might believe there will be more competition, but the opportunist is already taking the loan application. Be prepared and be accessible We’ve recently hit a 19-year low with new mortgage loan applications. With company mergers, layoffs and realities facing the mortgage market, you must be ready and in position to pick up the slack. Do whatever you can to avoid getting mixed up in the recruiting roller coaster, working on reviewing employment offers rather than consumer loan applications. Be organized, branded and ready to hit all aspects of direct and referral marketing toward consumers in your target market. Ensure you have the tools, systems and product to successfully convert and close new loan requests. Ensure all your Web sites and consumer-directed content is up-to-date, accurate and working properly. Vet your expenses As I’ve always said, control your balance sheet in this industry or it will certainly control you. We’re not compensated in a traditional way, but we have traditional billing. Save your money and look ahead. Shave any personal or business expenses that are unnecessary or not producing positive results and only invest time and resources in those activities and areas that directly improve business and quality of life. You will find that it is much easier to control and produce positive thoughts when you are more financially stable. You can think much clearer and make more educated decisions rather than compulsive ones. Remember each morning that you make the choice to either slide out of bed or spring out of bed. Market share opportunities are there for those with a spring in their step that emerge from change by quickly adapting to what others are unable or unwilling to. 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, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.vantagemortgagegroup.com.   This article originally appeared in the April 2014 edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine.
Published
Aug 06, 2014
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