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The Value of Routine

January 29, 2015

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The Value of Routine

Routine!  Sounds so boring!

However, there are some routines that energize and give direction.  For example, every January I re-read Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”, and every January I rediscover golden nuggets that provide direction for my year’s business plan.  It’s a jump start for the year

Two golden nuggets in particular energize me and provide a framework for my 2015 business plan: burning desire and organized planning.

Burning Desire: Hill emphasizes “thought” and “burning desire” as major principles to achieve wealth.  As he views it, thought drives the burning desire, and burning desire drives the individual to follow through with a plan.  For me, the burning desire frames a practical aspect in projecting the numbers I need to reach my goals.  Early in my real estate career, I learned that if I help enough people get what they want, then I’ll get want I want.  So the question becomes: in 2015, how many families do I help get what they want so that I can reach my business and financial goals/my burning desire?

But on a different level, burning desire translates into the passion I feel for the families I serve in my real estate business.

We’ve all heard the adage: “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”  That’s the passion.  The passion in the every day details that give meaning to my Buyers – what helps to get them what they want: listening to their wants and needs, searching for the right home, negotiating the price, overcoming obstacles, finding solutions, and working towards a worry free closing.  This may sound “corny”, but at the end of each day, it doesn’t feel like work.  And … the thank you’s and the smiles on their faces when they’re handed the keys to their new home say it all.

Organized Planning: In business planning, we’ve heard, “Plan the work; work the plan.” Hill devotes one chapter describing the how to’s.  For me, the steps to a working plan start with the actions/activities that will lead me to achieve my goals with special attention to client care.  I begin with the yearly goals and then break those down into quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily plans and activities.  While it takes some time at the beginning of the process to organize the plan, it’s worth it.  The plan drives the details, and the details drive the plan.  Once organized and written, all I have to do is follow it (with occasional tweaking if necessary).

Many of these actions are geared towards developing and enriching relationships with clients and the business and local communities through consistent communication.  Other actions involve marketing, promotion, and problem solving with each action targeted to a specific part of the plan.

Does this routine sound boring? Perhaps.  But the reality is: it works.  Burning desire/my passion and organized planning have served me well in the past as valuable sources of energy and direction. They will serve me well in 2015.

Your plan:  These principles work whether you’re selling commodities or personal service.  I encourage you to adapt them to your business plan and growth. Or better yet, read Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”, and discover your golden nuggets.

Five Financial Reasons Why Homeownership Makes Sense

January 22, 2015

financial reasons for buying a homeThe main reasons why people choose to become homeowners rather than tenants tend to have more to do with family or social reasons rather than cost.

But that’s not to say that there aren’t also a number of reasons why buying a house makes more financial sense than renting.

In fact, according to a recent paper put out by the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University called “The Dream Lives On: The Future of Homeownership in America”, there are at least five significant financial benefits that come from owning your own home.

Here they are, along with supportive quotes from the Harvard study: Read more…

Changes in the Fannie Mae Appraisal Program

January 15, 2015

home appraisalsIt’s fairly common knowledge that most homes must be sold twice – once to the buyers, and again to the bank’s appraiser if a mortgage will be needed.

What might not be so widely known, however, is that recent changes in the way lenders can verify appraisal amounts could lead to slower and costlier home-sale closings.

Giant mortgage investor Fannie Mae has released a controversial new appraisal tool that lets lenders compare appraisals they receive against Fannie Mae’s database of market data. Leveraging analytical models, the software provides an overall risk score and highlights specific parts of the appraisal that might warrant further attention. It can also provide up to 20 alternative comps (nearby properties that were recently sold and are roughly similar to the house being considered for financing) that weren’t initially used by the appraiser.

This proprietary home valuation database will be available for lenders to access starting January 26. Read more…

Why Most Americans REALLY Buy a Home

January 8, 2015

reasons for owning a homeWith rents remaining unpredictable and continuing to steadily rise, you may believe that financial considerations are the #1 reason why so many Americans want to become homeowners.

After all, a recent study revealed that an incredible $441 billion was spent domestically on rents in 2014, up by over $21 billion from 2013.

While rents have increased consistently since 1988, they have truly skyrocketed over the last few months. The fact that Millennials have postponed purchasing their first homes until the economy recovers more fully has increased demand for rentals and dramatically lowered vacancy rates, allowing landlords to basically name their price in many cases.

But even despite these statistics, surveys have revealed that in fact, the top four reasons Americans want to own their own home have nothing to do with money. Based on a recent survey performed by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, here were would-be homeowners’ true motivating factors: Read more…

What to Do at Year-End If Your Home Hasn’t Sold

January 2, 2015

for sale by ownerThe end of the year brings with it holiday festivities, tax considerations – and decisions for homeowners who have had their homes on the market.

As Sellers’ “listing for sale agreement” expires, they are faced with a handful of options:

1) Taking their home off the market (OTM)

2) Doing a “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO)

3) Re-listing with the same agent

4) Listing with a new agent

Let’s briefly examine the rationale behind each choice, and discuss some aspects you may not have considered: Read more…

What Does Today’s “Typical” First-Time Home Buyer Look Like?

December 26, 2014

If you’re considering whether or not NOW is the right time to purchase your first home, it may be tempting to come up with reasons to not buy and instead renew your lease. For example, you may think you’re too young to have the responsibility of holding down a mortgage, or that it doesn’t make sense to own a home before you’ve married and started a family. You might also believe that your current income is too low to for you to qualify for a mortgage.

Interestingly, a little research may show you that you’re actually in good company when in comes to prospective first-time home buyers – and may convince you that the time could very well be right for making your move.

The National Association of Realtors recently put together a Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers detailing statistics about all first-time (FT) buyers, including their household income, median age, marital status, and gender. The median income of ALL FT buyers was $68,300, with a median age of 31. The largest segment group was of married couples who had an average household income of $79,400 and a median age of 31. See the full chart below:

first-time home buyers

Read more…

Expect Rents to Increase in 2015

December 18, 2014

rising rentsDuring 2014, rents skyrocketed much faster than wages did. In fact, in the five hottest rental markets, tenants were putting more than half of their salaries into rent, according to a recent report by CNBC. Over the past 12 months, rents rose on average 3 – 7% nationwide.

While mortgage lenders generally recommend that borrowers pay no more than approximately 30% of income on housing (combining mortgage interest and monthly principal, insurance, and taxes), many renters are already well above that amount for just two-bedroom apartments. With rental demand so heavy, landlords are in no hurry to lower rents.

According to Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia:

“Rents are rising because of strong demand that supply hasn’t kept up with. Nearly all the new households are renters, and young people moving out of their parents’ homes will keep fueling rental demand.”

That trend is expected to continue into 2015, with no sign of  letting up. In fact, Zillow is predicting that U.S. rents will outpace home values by the end of 2015, saying that it expects home values to increase by 2.5%, whereas rents will grow around 3.5%. Read more…

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