Friday, March 27, 2009

Watch Your Words

The words that you think and speak have a direct connection to your sales skills and subsequent sales results. This revelation has been revealed through many sources, consider using these words as a sales professional in your ongoing efforts to expand your business network and increase sales.

#1: Potential Qualified Customers - Replace the word prospects with this phrase. When you use the word prospects, you have turn those individuals into objects instead of realizing their worth as individuals. Read the book Leadership and Self Deception to learn more.

#2: Qualifying - Is not the desired result of marketing is to qualify your potential buyers? So, exchange the word prospecting for qualifying. Again, this helps you as the sales professional to see the person across the table or the room as an individual as not as a hunk of rock with some veins of gold.

#3: Agree - This word has 100 times more emotional marketing value than the word Yes. The only person who wants to truly hear the word Yes, is you as the sales professional. Agree implies a contract has been established between you and your potential qualified customers.

#4: Earn - Take the word close out of your vocabulary. To close means to shut off. Way in heaven's sake would your salespeople want to shut off their potential qualified customers.

#5: Statement of Work - Unless you are involved in an open bid process such as one issued by governmental, educational or not for profits, consider using this phrase instead of proposal. The word proposal is what all those other salespeople use and places you in the Sea of Sameness. However, Statement of Work implies that you will be doing business with this qualified potential customer. Also, this sets a psychological tone in your mind and possibly one in the mind of your potential buyer.

#6: Educating - The traditional sales based approach simply is not as effective in the 21st information heavy society where benefits can be easily found with the click of the mouse. By employing education based marketing (EBA), your actions demonstrate the value that your solutions bring to the table.

#7: Ask - Even though this word is a verb, to be able to ask is a powerful word that does increase sales. Ask for referrals from existing loyal customers to centers of influence. Ask to speak at local civic to not for profit organizations. Ask how you can help a new contact even if the person is not a qualified potential customer.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Goal Setting Results

Getting Results from Goal Setting

You've established your goals for the year. Now how do you make them happen? Start with a plan of action and follow it through - all the way to celebrating your success!

Start with the end in mind.
Develop a clear picture of what you want to accomplish. State the end results in one sentence that even a child can imagine, understand and remember. Consider the power of President Kennedy’s goal "to send a man to the moon and bring him safely back home within this decade." Thousands of people did very detailed work and spent billions of dollars based on this simply stated goal.

Develop a written plan.
Get it on paper (or in the computer). Make the plan as specific as possible, in terms of what will be done and by when. A timeline will help you keep on track as far as providing a written outline of your accomplishments to date and what remains to be done.

Enlist support of others.
Let them know what you are doing, and how they and others will benefit from the results you want to produce. Invite them to lend their support however they can.

Set up milestones and reporting systems.
Break the job down into segments, and set target dates for completing each segment. Develop a reporting system on paper or via a good software program. Communicate often with all those who have a need to know to avoid unwanted surprises.

Have a support system.
Set up the supports you need in your work and in your personal life. Have one or more advisers that you meet with regularly to report progress, and get advice and encouragement. Your personal coach can be one of these key people.

Monitor progress and make adjustments.
Realize that even the best plans need to be adjusted in the heat of the battle. Make adjustments quickly and respond to new opportunities or short cuts along the way that help you reach your destination faster. If you find it difficult to get around or through certain roadblocks, get help and advice promptly.

Form mutually beneficial alliances with others.
Find out what other people or groups are natural allies and team up with them so you can help each other reach your objectives more easily and effectively.

Work your plan regularly and continuously.
Maintain a high focused activity level yourself, and get help when you need it. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Delegate as much as you can, and follow up with those to whom you delegate work.

Keep your allies on your side and your enemies at bay.
Inform your allies about progress you are making and problems you are having. Thank them for their help. Protect yourself from important enemies by setting up and maintaining boundaries between yourself and your enemies. Recognize that enemies can be within you as well as about you. When you find that you are doing things that impede your own progress, replace that activity or habit with a better one. Ask your advisers what you personally can do better. Then put the corrections in place.

Celebrate progress along the way and at the completion of your work.
Share the glory. Recognize and thank the people who have helped you produce results.

What makes Goal Setting Successful

Seven Principles to Successful Real Estate Goal Setting

Your ability to plan, set goals, and create action plans to accomplish your goals is the mark of someone who is truly successful. This skill to set goals is a life-long endeavor. It is a habit that must be cultivated daily for a lifetime. This single activity will have the greatest impact on your life over any other achievement skill.

To be disciplined in setting goals is to sit down with paper and pen and make a list of things you want to acquire, attract or accomplish in the next several years. Earl Nightingale said, "The problem with people is not achieving the goals we set, it is actually the process of setting them in the first place." We are all goal seeking organisms. Your subconscious mind will work on the goal you give it until it is accomplished. You must only set this vast powerful computer in motion by setting the goal.

To achieve a well rounded, joyous life we need to be working toward our goals. When it comes to goals the journey is almost better than the destination. Success was defined by Nightingale as the progressive realization of a worthy goal. You become successful once you set the goal and work towards it. Success is not found only at the attainment level, but also in the striving toward attainment.

You need goals in all areas of your life. It is not good enough to set your sights on your business or commission earnings, transaction sides. You need goals in family, spiritual, physical, financial, and mental areas of your life. This is the only way to achieve balance.

Organize your goals in all areas based on priority. Put the most important ones on the top.

Our overall goal for our life should be to be a continuous goal setter. We need to become so focused and clear on what we desire that every hour and every day we are doing the things that are moving us in our direction of choice and toward our goals.

Studies have shown that you will save ten minutes in execution for every minute that you invest in planning or goal setting. What an incredible return on your investment of time. How often would you invest in an investment that you put in a dollar and got ten dollars back?

Seven Keys of Goal Setting

Your goals must be specific, detailed, and clear. You must invest the time to put them in written form. There is a direct link between your writing the goal, seeing it being written, and burning it into your subconscious mind. The goals you desire must be specific, not vague. To set a goal to be rich or be happy will not draw you to it. Well-written goals are like magnets they will you to your desired result. Your goal must be concrete and tangible. Highly defined goals are attained fuzzy goals are forgotten.

The goals you set you must be measurable. How can one truly measure happiness? You have to be able to analyze and evaluate your progress and your results in a tangible way. Many people have a goal of being rich. You need to know specifically how much money rich is. Your need to know the specific time period you want to achieve it by. Now that's a goal.

The best goals have deadlines. They have a time by which you need to accomplish them by. They also have interim steps along the way that can be monitored. These sub-deadlines or schedules are critical to success. There are no unrealistic goals; there are merely unrealistic time frames.

Goals need to challenge you to capacity or beyond. They will stretch you and mold you into a new person. Jim Rohn wisely said, "It's not the money that makes the millionaire successful; it's what he had to become (as a person) to earn a million dollars." If you took the money away from that millionaire that millionaire, would make it back twice as fast as before, because he learned the skill to make it in the first place.

Your goals need to possess congruency with your values and beliefs. You goals also have to be harmonious with each other. Let me give you an example, I want to lose 40 pounds, but I also want to eat Dreyer's Rocky Road ice cream every night before I go to bed. One of these goals will need to give way to the other. They are not congruent with each other. There is no way I can achieve both at the same time. You can not achieve goals that are actually contradictory.

Your goals must have balance. Just as a wheel needs balance to rotate properly; we need balance to get anywhere in life. Make sure you are balanced between your personal life, family, financial, spiritual, physical, mental, and business goals.

The largest most difficult goal in life is to define your purpose goal. We all have one goal that is at the core of our being. Our life moves to greatness when we decide upon a definite purpose or focus for our life.
I can speak from personal experience. When I determined my "core purpose" was to make meaningful impact in people's lives for all the people I come in contact with, my perspective changed dramatically. My enjoyment of my day to day "work life" increased.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Capital Gains Tax

Capital Gains and You
Congratulations! You now have a "sold" sign in your front yard. The sale of your home is complete and, hopefully, you netted a profit. If you did, be aware that you may be subject to capital gains tax. That simply means that you sold your home (a capital asset) and made a profit (gain), which could be subject to taxes.

The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 changed the tax laws concerning capital gains on primary residences. In years past, when you sold your home you could delay paying tax on your profit if you purchased another home within two years of selling. (There were also restrictions on the price of the home you had to buy.)

Today, you don't have to purchase another home to receive capital gains tax relief and you only pay taxes on any gains over $250,000 ($500,000, if filing jointly).

Here's how the IRS recommends figuring the gain (or loss) on the sale of your primary home:

1. Subtract your expenses from the selling price to obtain the realized amount.

Expenses typically include:

o Commissions,

o Advertising fees,

o Legal fees, and

o Loan charges, such as points.

2. Subtract the adjusted basis you made to the basis of your home from the realized amount to get the gain (or loss). (The basis is the amount you paid if you bought it or built it.)

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you do not have to report the sale of your home on your tax return unless:

You have a gain and you do not qualify to exclude all of it, or
You have a gain and choose not to exclude it.
Otherwise, you must report the gain on Form 1040, Schedule D.

As with any tax information, your personal situation (including such things as divorce) can have major tax implications. And since IRS tax rules change often, you'll want to be sure to consult with a qualified tax specialist.

Disclaimer: These are general guidelines and provided for information only. Other IRS rules may apply. Consult with your accountant, CPA or tax attorney for professional advice.

For more information on this topic or any other Real Estate matters feel free to e-mail JR at

Monday, March 16, 2009

For Buyers

Loan Process
Loan Application
If you're like most people, you'll probably need to secure a mortgage loan for your new house. Application for a home loan can take as little as one week and up to a month, depending on the type of mortgage.

Your lender or mortgage broker will be able to give you a better idea of the actual time it will take from application to approval. However, in general, conventional loans are processed more quickly than FHA or VA home loans.

Read more about types of mortgage loans.

The following is a step-by-step outline of what to expect during the loan application process:

1. Application
Bring all required documentation. (Also, see the Application Checklist.)
Good Faith Estimate of Closing Costs
Truth-in-Lending statement

2. Processing
Verification of employment
Verification of deposits
Credit report

3. Underwriting
Clear conditions

4. Purchase Homeowner's Insurance

5. Escrow
Determine funds needed for closing
Schedule appointment for closing
Prepare deed and mortgage note
Closing and Title Transfer

Application Checklist

To speed up the application process, bring the applicable following items to your loan application appointment.

Signed copy of Purchase Agreement plus all Addendums.
Tax and Legal description on subject property.
Residence addresses for the past two (2) years.
Past two years' W-2 statements or 1099’s.
Computer generated paycheck stubs for last 30 days.
Names, addresses and phone numbers of Employers for past two (2) years.
Past two (2) month’s statements for all Checking, Savings, IRAs, 401Ks, Money Markets, Profit Sharing and evidence of Stocks and Bonds. Document all recent large deposits.
In income received for commissions, bonuses, partnership(s), corporation(s), or if self-employed, requires two (2) year’s Personal Federal Tax Returns with all Schedules along with a current P&L Statement and Business Balance Sheets and past two (2) years’ Partnership and/or Corporate Returns, if applicable.
Cancelled checks from rent or mortgage for the last 12 months, and name and address of any landlord(s) within the last 12 months.
Names, addresses, account numbers, monthly payments and balances on all open loans and revolving credit accounts.
Copy of Bankruptcy Petition listing all creditors and copy of Bankruptcy Discharge Papers (if applicable). Please provide letter of explanation as to why the Bankruptcy occurred.
Copy of Driver’s License and Social Security Card (VA Loans Only).
Certificate of Eligibility and DD214 Discharge Paper (VA Loans Only).
Application fee (check or money order).
Copy of divorce decree and/or separation agreement.
A "Friend of the Court" letter stating the amount of any alimony/child support payments and notification that the account is current.
1040 tax forms (if you’re self-employed) for the past two years, 1120 Corporate Tax Returns (or Form 1065 for Partnerships) for the previous two years, year-to-date profit-and-loss statement and balance sheet signed by your accountant.
1040 tax forms for the past two years (including schedules) if you own income properties or if your income is based on commission or bonuses.
Fortunately, as you work one-on-one with your chosen home mortgage consultant, he/she should be able to offer valuable lending expertise and advice and answer all your questions while ensuring that your loan application process progresses as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Century 21 JRS Realty is affiliated with Century 21 Mortgage, LLC

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Buy or Sell First?

Buy or Sell First

Which Comes First: Selling or Buying?

Like the proverbial chicken and the egg, the question of "which comes first?" – in this case, the sale of your existing home or the purchase of your new home – can leave you scratching your head.

The answer to that age-old question depends on you and your individual situation. Evaluate each of your alternatives, taking into consideration the effect each scenario will have on your (1) finances, (2) negotiating position and (3) moving-day timeline.

Buying before selling
If you choose to buy a new home before you sell your current home, you may have to pay on two mortgages until your former home sells. A bridge loan can ease the strain of double mortgage payments; however, you generally must have sufficient equity in your current home to qualify.

Of course, you could make the purchase of your next home dependent upon the sale of your current home, and your Century 21 JRS Realty agent can write this contingency into your purchase agreement.

A strong housing market may mean that the seller will not be as likely to accept such an offer. The advantage of buying a home before you sell your current one is that you have more time to look for your new home – without the added pressure of moving.

Selling before buying
You may be in a stronger bargaining position for your new home if you put off serious home shopping until after you've accepted an offer on your current house. If you wait, you'll have a better idea of how much equity you can put into your next house and, more importantly, you won't have to make the purchase of that home contingent upon the sale of your old one.

Of course, there's the added pressure of needing to find a new home quickly. You may not be able to negotiate a lower purchase price if the seller knows you have time constraints.

In the end, only you can decide. Be sure to talk with your Century 21 JRS Realty agent. S/he's trained and experienced in helping you explore and narrow your options, as well as understand the "why and wherefore" of most home-related dilemmas, including buy first/sell first.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Neyland's Football Maxims

1. The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win.
2. Play for and make the breaks and when one comes your
way - SCORE.
3. If at first the game - or the breaks - go against you, don’t
let up...put on more steam.
4. Protect our kickers, our QB, our lead and our ball game.
5. Ball, oskie, cover, block, cut and slice, pursue and gang
tackle... for this is the WINNING EDGE.
6. Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are
7. Carry the fight to our opponent and keep it there for 60

Learn & Earn from Lost Listings

Learn & Earn from Lost Listings

If you do this you can make much more money over the long haul then you think. For 13 years in the business I have not found anyone that does this consistently or correctly.

OK here we go. In a given year you will not sign up every listing that you do a cma for, but there is still a huge potential for 2 things to happen. First, you can learn from your appointment, better yourself, and sign up the next listing appointment you attend because of what you learned. Second, you can make an impression on the sellers so that if they do not sell through the Realtor they chose you will certainly sign it up when it expires. If you do enough prospecting, like 80% of every day as you are supposed to, you will go on many listings appointments in your career. If you are a top agent you will sign up 80% to 90% of them, that's if you are a top agent. Statistically most agents are not TOP agents. So this means in a given year there are a number of listings you do not sign up, and some of them will not sell with the Realtor you lost out to. This number gets very large when added up over an entire career. How can you make sure to sign them up after they do not sell the first time around?

Here is all you have to do. You need to learn, and improve from every appointment...but how? The first way is by calling the seller and asking what made the difference, is there anything you could have done differently, what do you need to improve on, wish them luck with the sale, and extend an invitation to them to call you if they have any questions along the way. This needs to be done in a very polite, humble way, because you are trying to better yourself in your career and learn from every experience and you need their help to do that. Next, you follow up your call with a hand written thank you note and two business cards inside. You will write inside what you said over the phone, you wish them the best, and let them know they can call you at anytime for anything. Simple right, here's why it works.

First of all, not many agents will make this type of follow-up phone call for the purpose of learning and improving. If an agent did make a follow-up phone call it would be a bitter call that probably would not be handled in the right way and might go south because of emotion. Second, if you are polite and humble enough you will make an impression on the seller that is positive, and who do you think they are going to think of if they are not happy or they expire? Finally, if you can show their home or get a listing in their area during the time their home is on the market, you have the opportunity for another contact with a just listed post card and a showing appointment. Then, when your listing sells before their home sells you will have yet another contact with a just sold card. If you follow these steps you can sign up many homes on the rebound and continue to service your area and become the local leader in your market. For more information on this system please feel free to e-mail me at c21jrs72@aol.comor visit my company website and read one of the many guides we have posted for sellers and buyers, just visit

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Will This Help Our Industry?

Mortgage Bailout to Aid 1 in 9 U.S. Homeowners
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration announced details of a housing-rescue plan it said would help as many as one in nine homeowners, from low-income Americans struggling to avoid foreclosure to well-off borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth.
The announcement came two weeks after President Barack Obama said he would spend $75 billion on the housing component of an emergency economic plan that includes a financial-system bailout and a $787 billion spending-and-tax-cut package.
View Interactive
Some Win, Some Lose
See how new measures will affect some homeowners across the country.
Homeowners Size Up Housing-Aid Plan
Q&A: Guide for Homeowners
Summary: Treasury guidelines, fact sheet
Question of the Day
Vote: How would you gauge Obama's homeowner-rescue plan? Fair Not fair
Join the discussion.
The package represents an effort to tackle the political challenges inherent in any housing rescue. While the administration wants a sweeping program that would prevent millions of foreclosures, it doesn't want to be seen as rewarding the greedy or reckless.
"It is imperative that we continue to move with speed to help make housing more affordable and help arrest the damaging spiral in our housing markets, just as we work to stabilize our financial system, create jobs and help businesses thrive," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a written statement.
The administration, which was criticized for its rollout of its financial-sector rescue last month, got a generally warmer reception for the details of the foreclosure program. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 149.82 points, or 2.2%, snapping a dismal losing streak in recent days.
It remains uncertain how successful the administration will be in overcoming one of the biggest problems to forestall private efforts to fix troubled mortgages: the objections of investors who own mortgage-backed securities.
The administration estimates the new plan will cover as many as nine million mortgage holders. It has two main components.
First, the government will offer financial incentives and subsidies to persuade mortgage-servicing companies to ease up on borrowers who are in financial straits so severe that they risk losing their homes. Borrowers will have to sign affidavits attesting to their financial hardships. In return, they will see their interest rates drop to as low as 2%, their payment periods lengthened, and other modifications aimed at bringing their monthly payments to 31% of their income -- commonly considered a reasonable ratio. This program will be limited to first-lien mortgages with outstanding principal balances that don't exceed $729,750, in the case of single-family homes.
Welsh for The Wall Street Journal
POTENTIAL WINNERS: Nelia Price, with her son Ralph, in front of their home in Modesto, Calif., could be eligible for a loan modification.
Loan-servicing companies will receive up to $3,500 from the government to participate, with the government also matching a portion of the lenders' costs, dollar-for-dollar. Homeowners will get as much as $5,000 apiece in federal money to reduce their outstanding balances, as a way to encourage them to stay current on the modified mortgages.
Administration officials made a point of noting that the loan-modification program will not aid people who bought homes merely as investments; the program is designed for those who live in their homes.
In coming weeks, the administration plans to announce how it will help servicers persuade creditors holding second loans on the same properties to extinguish those debts. Roughly half of delinquent subprime borrowers also have second mortgages, according to Credit Suisse Group. Thus far, that has proved an impediment to modifying mortgages.
The second main component of the plan calls for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-backed mortgage giants, to refinance loans for millions of borrowers who may owe more than their homes are worth, even if they are wealthy enough to afford their current payments. There is no income ceiling for beneficiaries. But they must have mortgages held or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and they cannot owe more than 105% of the current value of their home.
That raises the possibility that homeowners considered well-off by national standards may qualify for public aid.
A Treasury spokeswoman said that there are benefits to helping some well-off homeowners. "The recent decline in home values has left many responsible borrowers, through no fault of their own, in a position where they can't take advantage of today's low rates through a refinancing," she said. "It is in the best interest of American homeowners to be able to refinance to lower-rate mortgages. And this, in turn, is good for home prices, for consumer spending during a downturn, and for liquidity in our mortgage markets."
At the end of last year, an estimated 13.6 million U.S. borrowers owed more on their homes than their properties were worth, according to Moody's, up from 11.8 million at the end of the third quarter.
The release of the government's new guidelines will likely accelerate efforts already under way at the nation's largest banks all have unveiled loan-modification efforts over the past few months. They instituted foreclosure moratoriums after the government announced that it, too, was preparing to tackle the issue. They will likely soon resume foreclosing on properties that they have determined aren't eligible for loan modifications.

Many banks, which had worried about possible hits to earnings when the plan first was announced, welcomed it on Wednesday. "The plan appropriately balances the interest of homeowners, mortgage servicers and investors," said Jamie Dimon, chief executive of J.P. Morgan Chase.
Some investors who own mortgage securities, however, remained skeptical.
Under the loan-modification plan, a hypothetical borrower earning $4,000 a month, with a $225,000, 6.5% loan with 28 years remaining, could see the rate fall to 2.73%, and the monthly payment drop to $1,240, from $1,737, according to Thomas Lawler, an independent housing economist. The government would cover about $155 of the $495 payment reduction. Principal payments and federal subsidies would reduce the outstanding balance to $193,000 after five years. Without the federal program, the principal would have fallen to $208,000, assuming the borrower kept current.
Mortgage Bankers Association President John Courson said that the Obama program, by setting an industry standard, will help servicers, who are hired by investors to collect mortgage payments each month, defend themselves against complaints that they aren't acting in investors' interests by modifying loans. But Mr. Courson added that servicers might be reluctant to act without congressional protection from lawsuits.
Getty Images
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testified Wednesday in front of the Senate Finance Committee.
The administration is "not going to see eye-to-eye" with some investors, said a senior Treasury official. "Our role is not to use taxpayer resources to bail them out."
Citigroup will apply the new program to all loans held by investors, "unless there's a contractual obligation that specifically prohibits us from doing that," said Sanjiv Das, chief executive of the bank's CitiMortgage unit.
Bank of America "will work with our investors to allow these programs to be extended for borrowers whose loans they own," said spokesman Dan Frahm.
Calls from borrowers interested in loan modifications "really spiked" on Wednesday, said Barbara Desoer, Bank of America mortgage president.
Administration officials acknowledged that it could take time for troubled borrowers to move through the system. "People need to be patient and understand that servicers are likely to get lots of telephone calls and lots of inquiries," a senior White House official said.—Robin Sidel and James R. Hagerty contributed to this article.

Who is responsible for your SUCCESS?

Who Is Responsible for your Success?
This isn’t a trick question.
Certainly you know the answer—the person who has been responsible for the life you live right now: YOU.
Everything about you is a result of your doing or not doing... Your income. Debt. Relationships. Health. Fitness level. Attitudes and behaviors.
I think everyone knows this in their hearts, but often times people convince themselves into thinking that external factors are the source of their failure, disappointment, and unhappiness.
External factors do not determine how you live. YOU are in complete control of the quality of your life.
When I hear people complain about the state of their life (be it their problems with personal finances, weight, their jobs, or general dissatisfaction) I like to help them see things differently.
If they feel “stuck” and unable to move forward for whatever reason, I ask them to scrutinize both what is working well and what isn’t working well in their life and see how they’ve arrived at where they currently are.
For example, if a woman tells me she’s unhappy with her weight—she travels frequently, and has no to time to exercise or seek healthy foods—I point out that her weight is not a result of her travels and schedule. It’s an outcome of what she chooses to eat and how she chooses to move, regardless of her daily agenda. Why not make a conscious effort to pre-plan healthy meals and snacks, even if it’s on the go, and sneak in 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there to be physically active (hey, I know some frequent flyers who make it a habit of running through airports!).
If you’re frustrated with any area in your life, then it’s time to take a little inventory. Certainly there are wonderful things happening, whether it’s your job, your romantic relationship, your children, your friends, or your income level. Your accomplishments are just as important as your missteps.
First, congratulate yourself on your successes; and then take a look at what isn’t working out so well. What are you doing or not doing to create those experiences?
Watch out! If you find yourself beginning to complain about everything but the choices you’ve made, then you need to take a step back. See if you can stop blaming outside factors for your unhappiness.
When you realize that you—and only you—create your experiences, you’ll realize that you can un-create them and forge new experiences whenever you want.
How empowering is that!
You must take responsibility for your happiness and your unhappiness, your successes and your failures, your good times and your bad times.
All too often we choose to claim the successes and blame the failures on others or other circumstances. When you stop blaming, however, you can take that energy and redirect it to focus on shaping a better situation for yourself. Blaming only ties up your energy. Imagine roping all the energy into a positive effort.
Some ideas to make this happen:
Believe, Believe, Believe! Have unwavering faith in yourself, for good and bad. Make the decision to accept the fact that you create all your experiences. You will experience successes thanks to you, and you will experience pain, struggle, and strife thanks to you. Sounds a little strange, but accepting this level of responsibility is uniquely empowering. It means you can do, change, and be anything. Stumbling blocks become just that—little hills to hop over.
Take no less than 100% responsibility. Successful people take full responsibility for the thoughts they think, the images they visualize, and the actions they take. They don't waste their time and energy blaming and complaining. They evaluate their experiences and decide if they need to change them or not. They face the uncomfortable and take risks in order to create the life they want to live.
Stop complaining. Look at what you are complaining about. I’m fat. I’m tired. I can’t get out of debt. I won’t ever get a better job. I can’t stand the relationship I have with my sister. I’ll never find a soul mate in life. Really examine your complaints. More than likely you can do something about them. They are not about other people, other things, or other events. They are about YOU.
Make an immediate change. Are you unhappy about something that is happening right now? Make requests that will make it more desirable to you, or take the steps to change it yourself. Making a change might be uncomfortable for you. It might mean you have to put in more time, money, and effort. It might mean that someone gets upset about it, or makes you feel bad about your decision. It might be difficult to change or leave a situation, but staying put is your choice so why continue to complain?
You can either do something about it or not. It is your choice and you have responsibility for your choices.
Pay attention. Looking to others for help and guidance is helpful, but don’t forget to stay tuned in to yourself—your behavior, attitude, and life experiences. Identify what’s working and what isn’t. If you need to, write it all down. Then…
Face the truth and take action for the long term . You have to be willing to change your behavior if you want a different outcome. You have to be willing to take the risks necessary to get what you want. If you’ve already taken an initial step in the right direction, now’s the time to plan additional steps to keep moving you forward, faster.
Isn’t it a great relief to know that you can make your life what you want it to be? Isn’t it wonderful that your successes do not depend on someone else?
So if you need just one thing to do different today than you did yesterday, make it this: Commit to taking 100% responsibility for every aspect of your life. Decide to make changes, one step at a time. Once you start the process you’ll discover it's much easier to get what you want by taking control of your thoughts, your visualizations, and your actions!
-Jack Canfield

Monday, March 9, 2009

What should my Budget for a Home be?

Figuring Your Housing Budget
Have you ever shopped for clothes, furniture or gifts without a budget and later found that you'd overspent? It's easy to do especially when looking at so many great houses with your agent. Obviously, staying on budget is very important when house hunting.
That's why you'd probably like to have a ballpark idea of how much house you can afford - before you start looking and even before meeting with your mortgage broker or lender.
To get a rough estimate of how much you'll qualify for, do what the lenders do – plug your budget numbers into a basic mortgage calculation formula.
Lender FormulasLenders typically use one of two formula guidelines; although most will require that you meet both sets of guidelines. Even if you don't meet the guidelines, talk with your chosen home mortgage consultant. S/he can provide additional details specific to your situation, and since there are other formulas that exist, you may qualify under another standard. For example, VA loans are calculated on a single ratio that's based upon mortgage payment and all debts. If you have very little debt, this formula may allow you to qualify more easily for a more expensive home.
Of the two usual formulas, the first compares income-to-housing costs (without including long-term debts), while the second includes all debts.
28 Percent Formula
Total monthly housing costs (P.I.T.I.) = 28 percent (or less) of gross monthly income.
36 Percent Formula
P.I.T.I. + all monthly debts = 36 percent (or less) of gross monthly Income.
So, if you're a family with a monthly gross income (before taxes) of $3,500, you would multiply $3,500 by 28 and 36 percent. The result shows that you might qualify for a home mortgage with monthly payments between $980 and $1,260 a month.
Note that these percentages may be slightly less if you have long-term debts (more than eight months) or alimony/child support payments. The number and ages of your children as well as household budget items may also have an impact.
Now that you have a better idea of what your approximate housing budget may be, learn more about:
Types of Loans
Mortgage Strategies
The Loan Application

Doom & Gloom.....Fact or Fiction?

We Must Get Ratings!!!!!!
That is the way I see our media outlets, we must get ratings at all costs. I would have to be a moron to say the economy is not down. We all have seen the latest unemployment rate over 8%, we know that in the last year over 4 million jobs have been lost....and we know ONE more VERY important thing.......THINGS WILL GET BETTER!!!!!! Whether you voted for our president or not, as an American, you must have blind faith and trust the people in charge of our country. We have to have faith that they have the country's best interests in mind with every decision they make. The media wants to shock us with sensationalism and big bold headlines that make us watch their channel just to be more depressed by the DOOM and GLOOM they spew. We don't need the media to tell us the economy has gone in the crapper, just talk to your friends that have lost their jobs. We just went through one of the most prosperous periods of gluttony and excess our country has ever seen. Should we not pay the price now? Yes, we are now paying the price for the excess of living off your homes equity, evil mortgage companies that cared only about "loan the money", and sell it to someone else.I am writing this post because in my company I just had 4 agents go up against multiple offers on homes in Union and Middlesex County New Jersey. So how bad is Real Estate? Yes, now banks are not just going to throw bad money out the window if you have a pulse.Yes, the prices of homes have fallen. Yes, you have to be worth the risk in order to be loaned money. When my parents were growing up, they knew only one way to buy a 20% for a down payment and qualify for a conventional loan. You were made to care about your home because you WORKED to earn the RIGHT to purchase a piece of the AMERICAN DREAM. You appreciated your home because you earned it. The generation after the baby boomers only knows excess and should be called the "I must have it NOW!" generation...and I am a part of that generation. But I also have the courage to take responsibility for my actions and stand up for what I believe in. How is a generation of kids supposed to survive in this America, when all they see every day are sports stars, and actors, and rappers making more then teachers and our own President. A half a billion dollars to play baseball, are you kidding me? What does that say to our young people about what is important in this world? I know only Real Estate sales. It has been in my family for 40 years and it is the only thing I know. Accept for this...if you are given something for nothing it will mean NOTHING to you.Place the Blame for this economic crash in the right place. Who was president when the no money down loan came to be? Who was president when 3% down and 5% down loans came to be? Not George W Bush, that's for sure.All I am saying is as a country we got our selves into this mess and we WILL get ourselves out of it...TOGETHER. For all the Realtors out there struggling, just keep on making the contacts daily, meeting people daily, and working a little bit harder everyday. Remember, the contacts you make in these lean years will turn into $$$$ when things turn around. Don't listen to the news, tell people about the positives. Rates are low, there are more homes to choose from, you are able to buy a home cheaper then your neighbor did just a few years ago. Those 3 things sound like potential for a good market. The daily activities of a successful Realtor have not changed, make contacts everyday. That task does not change with the rise and fall of the economy. The only thing that changes is the value of homes and the time it may take for your listing to turn into money in your bank account. Listings will always and forever be the name of this game, and the amount of contacts you make everyday will determine the amount of listings you sign up.
For more information from JR Sangiuliano of CENTURY 21 JRS Realty feel free to E-mail him at or visit his Company Blog at

Sunday, March 8, 2009

How to get a Mortgage

The Loan Application
If you're like most people, you'll probably need to secure a mortgage loan for your new house. Application for a home loan can take as little as one week and up to a month, depending on the type of mortgage.
Your lender or mortgage broker will be able to give you a better idea of the actual time it will take from application to approval. However, in general, conventional loans are processed more quickly than FHA or VA home loans.
Read more about types of mortgage loans.
The following is a step-by-step outline of what to expect during the loan application process:
1. ApplicationBring all required documentation. (Also, see the Application Checklist.)Good Faith Estimate of Closing Costs Truth-in-Lending statement
2. ProcessingVerification of employmentVerification of depositsCredit report
3. Underwriting Clear conditions
4. Purchase Homeowner's Insurance
5. EscrowDetermine funds needed for closing Schedule appointment for closing Prepare deed and mortgage note Closing and Title Transfer
Application Checklist
To speed up the application process, bring the applicable following items to your loan application appointment.
Signed copy of Purchase Agreement plus all Addendums.
Tax and Legal description on subject property.
Residence addresses for the past two (2) years.
Past two years' W-2 statements or 1099’s.
Computer generated paycheck stubs for last 30 days.
Names, addresses and phone numbers of Employers for past two (2) years.
Past two (2) month’s statements for all Checking, Savings, IRAs, 401Ks, Money Markets, Profit Sharing and evidence of Stocks and Bonds. Document all recent large deposits.
In income received for commissions, bonuses, partnership(s), corporation(s), or if self-employed, requires two (2) year’s Personal Federal Tax Returns with all Schedules along with a current P&L Statement and Business Balance Sheets and past two (2) years’ Partnership and/or Corporate Returns, if applicable.
Cancelled checks from rent or mortgage for the last 12 months, and name and address of any landlord(s) within the last 12 months.
Names, addresses, account numbers, monthly payments and balances on all open loans and revolving credit accounts.
Copy of Bankruptcy Petition listing all creditors and copy of Bankruptcy Discharge Papers (if applicable). Please provide letter of explanation as to why the Bankruptcy occurred.
Copy of Driver’s License and Social Security Card (VA Loans Only).
Certificate of Eligibility and DD214 Discharge Paper (VA Loans Only).
Application fee (check or money order).
Copy of divorce decree and/or separation agreement.
A "Friend of the Court" letter stating the amount of any alimony/child support payments and notification that the account is current.
1040 tax forms (if you’re self-employed) for the past two years, 1120 Corporate Tax Returns (or Form 1065 for Partnerships) for the previous two years, year-to-date profit-and-loss statement and balance sheet signed by your accountant.
1040 tax forms for the past two years (including schedules) if you own income properties or if your income is based on commission or bonuses.
Fortunately, as you work one-on-one with your chosen home mortgage consultant, he/she should be able to offer valuable lending expertise and advice and answer all your questions while ensuring that your loan application process progresses as smoothly and quickly as possible.
Century 21 JRS Realty is affiliated with Century 21 Mortgage, LLC.

What service do I Deserve?

What to Expect from a Full-service Agent

What can you expect from your agent? Plenty! (Or at least you should.)No doubt about it. Buying or selling a home is right at the top of the list of major (and exciting) life changes. It's also one of the most important financial transactions of your life. From making initial buying or selling decisions to closing (and everything in between), you should definitely know how an agent will turn your dream into a reality.That's where full-service agents come in. You don't want to trust one of the most important decisions of your lifetime to an agent who's more focused on cutting corners than on making sure needs are being met – and exceeded.Here's a list of what you should expect from a full-service agent. This is just a general list – you should review it and determine what other important needs you have. Make sure that your prospective agent is willing to provide you with the full suite of services you deserve.
We work to make the home buying process easier for you by providing the ultimate convenience with these services:
* Assistance with loan pre-approval
* Needs assessment
* Fast home-buying assistance
* Online tools to make the process easier and more convenient
* Expert negotiation
* Mortgage
* Title
* Warranty
* Relocation services Connect with a buyer's agent for more information.
We've perfected the home-selling process, too, by providing full-fledged service including:
* Pricing your home to sell
* Innovative marketing
* Home preparation advice
* Showing your home
* Expert negotiation
* Real communication – on your terms
* Finding your next home fast With the best Web site in the real estate industry, and the best marketing tools in the business, our agents reach a wider audience of potential buyers, making it easier for them to find your home once it's been listed. And, when the time comes, we can help you find your next home, too.
Connect with a listing agent from CENTURY 21 JRS Realty for more information at

How to Choose your Listing Agent

Listing Agent Interview Questions
Choose Your Selling Agent with Care
If you're interviewing a listing agent at your home, pay attention to how s/he reacts to talk about your home during the discussion. Choose someone you feel comfortable with. Someone who genuinely believes in your home as much (or more!) than you do. Someone who sees its potential and will work hard to represent it. And, someone who has an innovative marketing plan that will make sure that all potential buyers are exposed to your home.All Century 21 JRS Realty agents are highly trained professionals with the skills, abilities and resources to sell your home. So, when you're choosing a Century 21 JRS Realty agent, all you need to do is find the one that fits your personality and preferences.Formulate a list of questions, and then set out to find your agent. Here are some questions to get you started:Q. If I list my house with an agent, can the same agent represent me in the purchase of my next home?A. Most likely, yes. Ask the agent to explain the agency concept and how it works in your state. The agent who lists your home can usually become your buying agent, too. Just be sure to ask what limitations, if any, your agent's representation will have.Q. If you're my agent, what happens when you're not available?A. Find out how each agent handles the time they're unavailable. Do they use an assistant? Do they have a partner? Whom should you call and when? Can you reach the agent by cell, pager or e-mail? Find out what the contingencies are for all what-if scenarios. Make sure to partner with an agent who will ensure that your needs can be met – all of the time.Q. When did you last sell your own residence? What did you like and dislike about that experience?A. Experience is a great teacher. Selling a home is an emotional experience, and empathy is one of the most powerful emotions. Does your agent understand first-hand what it's like to sell a home? Can s/he provide some lessons learned to help in your experience?Q. What advice would you give me to prepare my home for sale?A. Some agents will suggest that you neutralize your d├ęcor, while others may feel they know just the right buyer for your intense (or subdued, as the case may be) color scheme. Should you tear out old carpeting? What about major repairs? Be sure to choose an agent who can analyze your home's strengths and weaknesses – and who can help you know how to accentuate its best features when preparing to sell.Q. What would you tell a buyer who's considering my home?A. Real estate agents should be skilled in discerning the positive features and benefits of any home. Is your home especially appealing because of its floor plan? Because of it's location in a great neighborhood? Or because of a unique kitchen or master suite? Be sure you're comfortable with how s/he plans to represent your home – and that s/he can accurately describe and promote your home's best attributes.Q. What's your personal philosophy of what really sells a home? Is it direct mail marketing, Internet exposure, promotion to other real estate agents or something else?A. Your Century 21 JRS Realty listing agent will build a marketing plan based on his/her answer to this question, and your specific property. Make sure you understand and agree with the agent's perspective.Q. How will you or your company protect me from the general public in the areas of safety, convenience and eliminating unnecessary showings?A. Make sure your agent is willing to operate in a way that makes you feel comfortable and safe – and in a way that makes the selling process as convenient as possible. Discuss whether you would like potential buyers to be screened prior to scheduling showings, and whether you'd like your address to be kept private in marketing efforts. Have this discussion in advance to make sure your agent's philosophies are in line with your preferences.Q. What sold the last three properties you listed?A. Because the answer to this question can differ by market and by home, what's more important than the actual answer is that your agent is able to explain in simple, direct terms which factors contributed to his or her recent sales. If the agent hasn't already addressed it, ask him/her what strengths they see in your home that will help it sell.Q. What advice would you give to a buyer who's considering my home?A. You won't likely be present when your agent talks to potential buyers, so make sure you feel comfortable with how s/he talks about your home – whether the emphasis is on getting the best offer or selling the house quickly.Q. What distinguishes your real estate company from the competitor(s)?A. Is a company large because it reinvests in innovation? Does the agent's real estate firm promise to provide sellers with the best online exposure to sellers? Each organization should have a business philosophy that your agent can easily articulate to you.Q. What distinguishes your personal service from other real estate agents?A. Listen to how the agent describes his/her communication skills and willingness to be there for you – when you need them, in the way you need them. Think about how often you want to communicate, as well as when and how you'd like to receive updates on the sales process. Choose an agent who gives you a confident response to communicating on your terms.After each interview, ask yourself: * Do you feel like the agent is trustworthy and honest? * Does s/he seem realistic when talking about your home or your anticipated home purchase? * Do you communicate well with the agent and vice versa? * Do you feel that the agent sees things from the same point of view? * Would you describe him/her as committed, motivated and experienced? For more information visit our website at

Thursday, March 5, 2009

10 Steps for Marketing Success

Reading all these stories of success may have you dreaming of your own future. Yet you may not be sure how to jump start your own production. Then may I give you my proven marketing methods discovered over my twenty eight years in the mortgage industry. These steps have taken me and my staff to top producer and top income earners in every management and sales position I’ve held.
You may notice, it doesn’t say the ’10 Easiest Steps for Marketing Success’. The mortgage industry is a fabulous industry, but like most things in life ‘it doesn’t come easy’. Yet with effort and focus the mortgage industry is one of the most rewarding careers. Just remember to save money in the busy years, to get you through the slow years.
Use these well worn steps as your road map to marketing success.
1. Define your client or target market?
There are many mortgage business sources, which require a loan originator to focus their efforts to improve their marketing response. That’s not to say you’re so focused you miss an opportunity. Marketing efforts often cost money, and having your marketing focused will improve your chances of attracting prospects. You should also focus on a source you have a passion for. When you have a true interest it will show in your presentation.
A loan originator should have one main marketing focus, or target market, with two or three side sources. The target market is your main focus for marketing material and advertising. This source will need to be developed into your main source of generating production.
The side sources are generally relationship based and generally are a good source for stable reliable business. These sources feed you referral business. The benefit for this source is your professional handling of their client or referral. No one wants to make a recommendation that will cause them to hear the person complain or worse yet lose that person’s business themselves.
2. Review the 32 opportunities?
When you are first entering this industry your sphere of influence starts with friends, family, and anyone you know enough to call and ask for business. These are also the best to make mistakes with while you learn the system and pitfalls of the mortgage business. People who already know you will be more patient with mistakes, and you can learn how to handle the issues without someone yelling at you (hopefully). You will need to be sensitive to the confidentiality of the information you will learn and gain their trust.
The other markets are your choice. Real estate agents are not suggested when first starting out as this group will be the least forgiving, as real estate agents have a tendency to not forget the botched closing that cost them their commission.
The list is not all inclusive, so don’t be afraid to look outside this list.
‘3’ FOOT RULE – Be sure to give everyone that comes within three foot of you your card. Give it to everyone you tip, or meet. Have your card in an easy to access clean place so you can get to them quickly. Do not pass out damaged or dirty cards as that would reflect poorly on your professionalism.
BANKS/CREDIT UNIONS – Many Banks and Credit Unions are limited in their home loan programs which allow for referrals. Reciprocate by referring people that need car loans or other types of loans you do not offer. A reciprocal agreement for services is great networking.
BUILDER ACCOUNTS – It may be hard to get the account of the big builders, but smaller custom builder accounts may be open to a professional mortgage person. Builders are special in that they will have specific demands, and the builder becomes your client over the borrower. Weekly status reports and constant availability and reliability are a must. This type of client is very demanding in that they expect perfection with little room for mistakes, and are very critical of the amount of income they will allow you to make on a loan. The benefit is the business is reliable and consistent, until the subdivision is sold out. It takes six to twelve months for the property to close, but when you are in the builder’s flow of business the closings are reliable which allows you to charge fewer fees. The builder is also doing your marketing as they are the ones recommending you for the loan on the new property.
CLUBS or ORGANIZATIONS – Join. People like to work with people they know even if indirectly through club affiliation. If they have a newsletter, get your business information in the newsletter some how or write an article. Sponsorship can also help you get your name out to the members. Don’t forget the ‘3’ foot rule. Chamber of Commerce may be effective if you can get on the committee to welcome newcomers to the area.
COLD CALLS – Practice makes perfect with cold calling. The more calls you make the more confident you will become. In your presentation, have a script that identifies the benefit points for your target market, and remember you are trying to qualify the prospect to determine if they will be worth bringing in for an appointment. The mind set is you have to hear ‘no’s’ to get the ‘yes’. When cold calling a real estate agent, have your benefit for real estate agent presentation ready and your response to ‘I have a lender I use already’. Make this response sincere with the true benefit to your potential new client.
COLLEGE STUDENTS - College students may be a good market as they may get an FHA loan when parents can qualify for their new home purchase. Parents can benefit by purchasing a home for their college student, instead of paying for dorm fees. After the student graduates they can sell the home. Possibly the equity growth can cover the cost of the student loans. Check FHA or other loan program guidelines for loans with this feature.
COMMUNITY COLLEGES – Try teaming up with an adult education instructor in Real Estate, Finance, etc… that would welcome a mortgage professional to do a short presentation on something applicable to their class or current market – great free advertising.
CONTRACTORS – Home repair specialist often need financing for the improvements or repairs they are proposing to the homeowner. When house prices are raising this is a good market as homeowners decide to improve their current home instead of moving up. Give the contractor flyers or brochure they can pass to their homeowners. The flyers will need to identify the benefits of 1st or 2ND mortgages for home improvements. Major improvements of ‘fair condition’ properties may need an FHA 203k rehabilitation loan or FNMA Renovation type programs.
CONVENTION or SEMINAR ATTENDEES – You can get lists of attendees to real estate home tours, home shows, garden shows, etc… You may need to pay and attend the seminar yourself to get access to the list. Do a mailer to solicit their business, as well as at the convention.
COURTHOUSE RECORDS, FEDERAL & STATE TAX LIENS – Go to the county Recorder’s Office, Federal Courthouse, or County tax collector and get the name of everyone with Federal, State, or County tax liens. County property taxes are best as generally this ensures they own property. Mail an offer to refinance their home to pay off the liens.
CUSTOM CONSTRUCTION/ARCHITECT – Team up with a builder to develop seminars that educate the consumer on ‘How to build their Dream Home’. Custom construction and architects have unique problems with the size of the loan amount. Limited lenders will do big jumbo loan amounts, so ensure you have a lending source.
DEAD LOAN FILE – Going through the cancelled loans “dead loan” files in your office can generate business. Guidelines and programs change, and new products become available. Get permission from your manager before attempting.
FACTORY or PLANT POSTER BOARD – Go to a large factory or assembly plant, and ask the human resource department if you can put a “Still Renting?” or “Need to Consolidate Your Bills?” poster on their bulletin board. Explain to them how you can help their employees. Your ‘angle’ with HR is that a homeowner makes a better employee and may be a more stable worker. Also an employee who is not worrying about paying their bills does a better job at work, and has no wage garnishments. Offer discount loan fees for employees. Placement near the time clock or in the break room works great. An insert in their pay envelope works well too. Make sure the action for the employee is clear and easy to follow, such as an easy phone number to remember or tear off sheets with the number to call.
FARM LEADS – Farm leads are a list of potential borrower that you telemarketer to or do mass mail marketing campaigns. If telemarketing, have a scripted approach. Most title companies will give you a qualified list free in exchange for you using their office services when doing a refinance loan. Farm leads will target an area specified by the parameters you set. Common parameters are loans closed two years ago (gets you the non-prime 2/28 programs, and possible equity built up in the home for cash out); home prices between $150,000 and $250,000 (or what ever range you prefer such as within FHA loan limits); and zip code parameters. Work with your title company rep for all the details available and try to get a list that will reach your chosen target market. Farm lists for renters may also be available. Always remember to ‘scrub’ the list, remove “Do Not Call’ registered numbers.

FLOOR DUTY – The Company you work for may do advertising. Floor duty is when the prospect calls are coming in to the company from their advertising. Floor duty allows you to handle the incoming sales calls. Luck of the draw on this one, but morning is usually the best as people will generally take care of important issues like buying a home first thing in the morning.
FOR SALE BY OWNERS – Teach them how to sell their own home. Sell how you can qualify the borrower, and get them their financing. Open house kits (explained later in this section) can also be used for this market.
HOME BUYER SEMINARS – develop a seminar to educate first-time home buyers on how the mortgage lending process works, and what to expect. Mortgage Trainers of North America has a Home Buyer Seminar already complete for your use. For more information and the cost, check the website After the seminar, invite the attendees for a quick prequalification.
JUST CLOSED REAL ESTATE – Get a farm list or county recorders records of recently closed loans from a specific area or price range. Solicit these leads for 100% and 125% LTV second mortgage programs for home improvement. Many new buyers have improvement projects or yards to complete.
KIOSK – These stands in the Malls can be affective ways to meet people. Placement would depend on your target market and where they are likely to shop. If you have a wireless laptop computer, you could do quick pre-quals on the spot.
MARKET TRENDS – Catch the Wave – Look for trends in the market or new hot product offerings. Title companies may offer a newsletter service that can keep you informed of market trends along with information on local house sales prices statistics. Watch the trends of hot products with wholesale lender flyers or go to the lender’s web sites. Set your target market based on who will benefit from the new hot product offering. Here are some examples of trends.
When house prices soar, start a campaign to remodel their current home to make it what they want. Many homeowners will not be able to move as the price of a better house will be outside their budget. Therefore they will choose to do a ‘cash out’ refinance or Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) to cover the costs of remodeling or room addition projects. Teaming up with a contractor (make sure they are licensed) can help reach these borrowers.
When the economy slows, farm your past clients for leads. Market for debt consolidation loans is very helpful for people with heavy debt burdens. January is always a good month for debt consolidation loans as people want to payoff last years and holiday debts. January through April is good for new home buyers with income tax refund money.
June is a big wedding month, so hook up with a bridal shop to offer free home buyer qualification. Set up a Kiosk in a mall during the spring outside a bridal shop, or set up a table inside a bridal shop. Many wedding couples get thousands for their new start. They in turn may want to purchase a home. Many will even close on the house before the wedding, so this marketing campaign for wedding planners can be offered all year long.
Sometimes the easiest approach to marketing can be to jump on the wave of business and ride it. Look to see what the hot new markets are, and focus your efforts on that business. Option Arm programs were the last market trend. What is the trend today? It’s important to pay attention to trends. When the market moves, if you’re not watching the industry indicators, reading the industry magazines, newsletters, etc… you could miss an opportunity.
MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS, FIREMEN, POLICE OFFICERS, OR TEACHERS – There are special programs available for professionals in your community. FNMA and FHLMC both have high LTV programs. Get details of the loan programs on their websites. You can find links at These programs allow for less down payment or down payment assistance programs. When approaching this market, advertise in areas these professionals would read or circulate. Professionals are use to making referrals to their friends and collages, so be sure to ask for referrals.
MILITARY PERSONNEL – Present the benefits you can do for military people. Promote “free pre-qualifications” or “zero down financing” to compete with VA loans. When National Guardsmen are called to active duty, they will generally get eligibility for VA home loans. This is unique to war times, and a good niche to sale when VA loans are available to you.
OPEN HOUSE – Real estate agents may want for safety reasons to have someone sit with them during an open house. Beyond safety reasons, having the ability to qualify any potential buyers there on the spot is a plus. Here is an opportunity to meet a potential new client who is in the market to purchase a property. You could pull their credit and interview them on the spot. If they do not purchase the property, maybe they will purchase another property.
Open house kits can be prepared in advance. The kit gives the person two or three scenarios on payments, down payment requirements, qualifying income needs, house amenities or special features list. Open house kits can also include information on nearby amenities such as schools, popular stores, local highlights of interest, chamber information, and other information useful to a potential purchaser for the home.
You could drop-in to an Open House, and talk to the real estate agent. Open houses don’t have a ‘gate keeper’ like the real estate office. Treat as you would a cold call. If agent is not busy, it’s a good time to pitch your services.
PROFESSIONAL CONTACTS – Bankruptcy attorney, financial consultants, divorce attorney, CPA or Bookkeeper, and other professionals that work with clients that need the equity of their home or understand the value of home ownership. These professionals need a qualified mortgage professional to refer their clients. A financial planner may want a homeowner to refinance and use the equity for investments with higher rate of return. An accountant may advise a client they need to purchase a home for the tax write off. Bankruptcy attorney may advise a different path from bankruptcy. Such as a debt consolidation when a client has excessive home equity, or paying off the chapter 13 bankruptcy early with a home equity refinance.
PUBLIC INFORMATION SOURCES – There are public announcements for marriage licenses, job promotions, bankruptcy filings, divorce filings, or other filings that would give you a reason for approach.
REAL ESTATE AGENTS – The goal of having a steady stream of real estate agent business is the dream of most loan originators. The relationship between the real estate agent and loan originator is difficult to keep consistent. Often the relationship is only as good as the last loan transaction. Real estate agents have many loan originators contending for their business, all offering better products, better service, and who knows what. Keep in mind that it is illegal according to RESPA to pay a real estate agent for a lead.
So if you cannot buy the real estate agent’s loyalty how do you keep the relationship? Excellent customer service is the best way. Don’t miss a close of escrow date, EVER! Keep the real estate agent informed with weekly status reports. Communication is Key! Keep in mind the Privacy Laws governs your actions as to the amount of information you may share with the real estate agents involved in the transaction.
Listing Agents – When you have a purchase transaction, keep the listing agent well informed as this is an opportunity for a new source. By keeping them in the information loop, you may just earn their business. Introduce yourself when you get the purchase contract. Let them know when the appraisal is being ordered and ask how they want to give access to the property. Call and inform them when the appraisal is received and the appraised value, and when closing docs are ordered and at title. After you call the listing agent to let them know the transaction has funded, let them know you’d like to work with them. Give them your quick scripted presentation for new business, and ask for an appointment to discuss how you can help them close loans. Maybe show them the ‘Open House Kits’ you use for listing agents, and your willingness to sit at open houses.
Real estate agents can give referrals to other real estate agents and purchasers, but only if they trust you to get the loan closed. Best way to get past the ‘Gate Keeper’. Ask the agents for referrals to other agents in their office. Meet the real estate agent at their office so they can introduce you around to the other agents personally.
REAL ESTATE INVESTOR – Develop a seminar educating consumers on how to use the equity in their current properties to buy more properties. Some companies may even go further by lining up renters with a leasing agent for their investment property clients.
RECENT COLLEGE GRADUATES – Get lists of all college graduates from your local colleges and vocational-tech schools. These people often have just gotten new jobs, received graduation money, and may be looking to purchase a home or condo.
REFERRALS – This is the key to success. This is the best source of business for any business. A warm lead to call, and repeat customers keep the commissions stable more than any other source of business. Just doing a good job may not generate a referral. Marketing follow up systems work well to stimulate referrals. If you feel you deserve the business, ASK FOR IT! Give the borrower many opportunities to give you referrals, ask often, and give them more than one card so they can pass them out. You don’t want to be pushy, but asking politely is expected. Some top producers operate on a “By Referral Only” basis. Once the flow of referrals start you may never have to worry about where your business is coming from, even in hard times.
RENTERS – This market can have different approaches, such as rent vs. purchase argument. Solicit the rental market and educate them on the cost of not purchasing a home. A large percentage of the current renters, do not believe they will qualify. They may not know how much money it takes, or whether they have good credit or not. They are afraid to purchase, as their parents were renters, and they truly feel homeownership is for someone else. How can you tap this market and let them know they may qualify? Target the renters with new home buying seminars, or mail campaign to apartment complexes telling them “Renting is Hazardous to Your Wealth”.
REVERSE MORTGAGE MARKET – Solicit retirees that have equity or free and clear properties. Reverse mortgages is a niche as not everyone will want this type of loan. But for those elderly homeowners, it can be a great relief of extra money for medical expenses. This may also be the next wave of business, as the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation turns 62 this year.
WEB SEARCH ENGINES – Once you have a website, you can purchase services from search engines to drive business to your site. Prices vary for this service and are called website optimization. There are ways to make your web site rank high in the search engines without paying for a service. You will need to do your homework to learn how to use key words in your home page that will give your site priority consideration with search engines.
Your first step is to identify who you want to have as a client or target market. What are your strong points or personal desires? If you like working with first time homebuyers and overcoming their challenges, then this can be your target market. Pick a target market that you understand their true needs and desires, or research to find out what they need. Maybe you remember your first experience in buying a home, and feel you could do better with communication to the buyer on the expectations of the process. Put your mind set in the new first-time homebuyers mind, and determine what issues and fears they may have. Make a list of first-time homebuyer concerns and possible issues. Then work on the loan features and benefits to assist with these issues.
Setting production goals are a great start in making a marketing plan. Preparing goals for your market approach saves time and frustration. If you don’t have goals sheets for planning your marketing approach, you may access free Sales Goal Sheet Templates at Goals allow you to focus your efforts and budget.
Your budget may determine your approach? Build into every client transaction a percentage of income for the marketing budget. Marketing does not have to be expensive or time consuming. Referrals are the cheapest as they generally just take an effort to ask for the referral, and then follow up with the lead. It is also courteous to send a thank you for the lead received. Due to privacy rights, you cannot disclose any details of the referrals business. Follow the laws required in your state and federal advertising regulations, and focus your presentation on your target market. Do not attempt the ‘shot gun’ approach that attempt to hit every prospective borrower. Your message will be lost in the maze of information. Also your advertising should not deter protected groups from accessing your services. Keep in mind that generally your first approach to any market is to get them to ‘call you’. So that is your focus.
BROCHURES – These can be nice for hand outs, and make the company look more professional with a brochure that outlines their services. Professional services and templates on the internet can help with development. When approaching professionals and human resource departments, a brochure works well to let them know the benefits of using you, your service, and your company. Benefits outlined in the brochure will need to be for your target market, and again not the shot gun approach of everything you have ever done.
E-MAIL MARKETING CAMPAIGN – Although there are costs and work involved in setting up an e-mail marketing campaign, there are clear benefits. You can purchase a data base if you do not have one, but the norm is to be invited to use someone’s email. The point is that once you get started, you will find e-mailing to be cost-effective.
FLYERS – Do not make a flyer that will attract all possible prospects. Do not let the flyer become too busy or misleading. The flyers should have a message that will meet the marketing goal, generally to generate action by the targeted market. The flyer will need to hit on the estimated motivation of the target market. What specific services will the potential borrower want from you, the mortgage professional?
GIFTS – There are gift baskets, wine with customized company name labels, plants, seed packets, fruit baskets, new home welcome baskets, and many other ways to spend your marketing dollars. There are also regulations on gifts from people in the mortgage business, so keep gifts under $50. If you give a present to one client, you should give a present to all. Excessive or expected gifts may be considered an illegal inducement or referral fee.
MAILING CAMPAIGN – There are costs involved in this approach, and the return is estimated at 2-3% being a good response. There are marketing services for a fee that will handle the mailing for you. These services make mailing campaigns easy as long as your database is up-to-date and accurate. Data bases can be purchased, but may not be current or may be over-used by other loan originators. Farm lists from title companies can also be used for your data base. What type of mailer will you use?
POSTCARDS – An effective mailer as most people will read the postcard before they throw. Postcards also cost less to mail. You have a very brief area to get your target market to take action, so make sure the message is simple and action requesting is clear. Call me!
GREETING CARDS – Holiday cards, birthday cards, and thank you's are all great to keep in touch with past clients. It also gives you another chance to ask for referrals, keep your data base current, and just basically keep your name in the fore front of their mind.
INVITATION – Invite past and potential clients to special events, “Homebuyer Seminar”, open house at your office, or holiday party. Have a door prize (less than $50 in value). Your client will get one chance in the drawing for every person they bring. How about a welcome to the neighborhood party you throw for your new client and their neighbors.
NEWSLETTERS – Newsletters can maintain communication between you and your clients. Marketing service companies can develop a newsletter for you, or you can write them yourself. Keep in mind that most newsletters are informational and do not normally ask for the business like marketing material.
NEWSPAPER/MAGAZINE PRINT-ADS – These can be expensive, but if your target market reads the paper or magazine the cost may be off set by the amount of applications it generates. Ask for a Media Kit to determine circulation and demographics of their readers. Ads should not be too busy. Keep it simple as you are just trying to get the phone to ring. Sometimes doing the ad in black with white writing can help it stand out from the other newspaper print ads.
PROMOTIONAL ITEMS – Pens, calendars, pads, rulers, game schedule charts, magnets, key chains, go more for useful rather than unique although both are great. Recipe cards are unique and often kept. T-shirts, polo shirts, hats, and bags are nice, but can be expensive and are considered inducements which are illegal. Why are you giving them the promotional item? The answer may help you decide what to use, if anything.
RADIO ADVERTISEMENT – Radio advertising on your local station is not too expensive, especially sponsoring the weather or traffic reports. You’ll need to run the ad at least six months. What radio station will your target market listen too? What time?
FREE ADVERTISING – there are many sources of free advertising. The following is a small list.
Word of mouth, referrals is the best.
Newspaper article written about you, or a press release.
Speeches and programs for civic groups.
Teach a course on home financing at the community college.
Business card on bulletin boards at stores and community centers.
Write newspaper article or column
Speak at Real Estate meetings.
Speak at high school career day programs
Three foot rule, anyone within three feet gets your card and presentation.
What more can you think of?
Make sure all your marketing materials meet state and federal requirements. Federal laws require advertisements to be clear and not misleading. Per the Truth In Lending Act (TILA), any rate quotes or implied payment amounts will require an annual percentage rate (APR) disclosure. When advertising, the posted APR cannot be any less conspicuous that the rate quoted.
Types of discrimination identified by the courts are:
· Overt evidence of discrimination, “When a lender blatantly discriminates on a prohibitive bases.”
· Disparate Treatment, “When a lender treats an applicant differently based on one of the prohibited factors.” This is the most concern in pricing. For example, you find your Hispanic clients harder to work with due to credit or employment issues, so you price their loans higher than your 800 credit score white clients. This is not a rate issue. This is a fees being charged to the borrower issue – pricing. It may not be directly intentional, but will your excuse hold up in court?
· Disparate Impact, “When a lender applies a practice uniformly to all applicants, but the practice has a discriminatory effect on a prohibited basis and is not justified by business necessity,” which hurts all parties involved with the lending transaction. For example, a company has all their advertising in Spanish with Spanish Magazines. This may be disparate impact to other protected groups such as some blacks that may not speak or read Spanish.
Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act of 1994
The Federal Reserve Board published its Truth-in-Lending Final Rule with Advertising standards that require additional information about rates, monthly payment, and other loan features. The final rule bans seven deceptive or misleading advertising practices and strengthens the clear and conspicious standards for advertising disclosures. The following is brief review of the prohibited factors:
1. Advertisements that state ‘fixed’ rates or payments for loans but rates can vary with only a limited fixed rate period.
2. Advertisements that compare an actual or hypothetical rate or payment obligation unless the advertisement states the rates or payments that apply over the full term of the loan.
3. Advertisements that characterize the products offered as ‘government loan programs’ even though the advertised products are not government-supported or sponsored loans.
4. Advertisements that display the name of the consumer’s current mortgage lender, unless prominently discloses that advertisement is from a mortgage lender not affiliated with the consumer’s current lender.
5. Advertisements that make claims of debt elimination if the product advertised would merely replace one debt obligation with another.
6. Advertisements that create a false impression that the mortgage broker or lender is a ‘counselor’ for the consumer.
7. Foreign-language advertisements, such as a low introductory ‘teaser’ rate, while the required disclosures are provided only in English.
These final rules will be phased in and took affect 10-1-09.
Fair lending laws require advertisements going to the public to disclose the equal opportunity housing symbol ( Equal Housing Lender.) Fair lending laws require you to not discriminate against any protected groups and comply with Fair Lending Laws. Be mindful of the image your advertising is taking. Most state laws require advertising disclose the complete name and address of the mortgage company and not just the loan originator. If the advertising is for ‘real estate professional’s only’ this statement must be on the advertisement or flyer. Supervisors should review all advertising to the public.
Next Step is to determine what form of advertising you will use to reach your market. What approach will give you the best possibility of reaching this target market? The first approach may not work initially. Repetitive advertising is ideal as people will normally need to see something three or more times before they act. Maybe do a repeating ad in the paper, or radio. Send a mailer more than once. The ad or mailer can vary each time, but keep the heading or company logo or slogan so they can recognize the advertisement. Plan out your marketing for the year or at least six months, then track your responses and fine tune your campaign as you go.
Next step you will need to develop marketing to get the phone to ring. What ever approach you choose, you will need to make sure you identify how you will overcome the issues identified for your target market. Not so much loan program as much as solutions (benefits) adapted to those clients. Now communicate in the material that you are available, and what are your solutions.
Be creative but keep the focus on the target market. What will get them to pick up the phone and call you? Create effective direct response advertisements by including these key marketing tips.
Grabber – The ad needs to grab the readers’ attention. Ask yourself, “What is it I do that really benefits the borrower?”
Interest – Having the reader answer “Yes” to questions works well and makes it easy for them to say yes to your call to action or services.
Conviction – You must create a belief that you can help them achieve their goal. Testimonials and success stories work well.
Call-to-action – Somewhere in your ad you need to instruct the prospect what action to do next. Call, email, complete response card, or so on. Creating a fear of loss with limited time offer will also motivate action.
Easy – It should be easy to reach you. Use toll free phone number, website address, and email.
You have to believe in what you’re selling. You are selling yourself, your company, and your services. You need to believe you will give the best service for the borrower, and not just close the loan for commission. When the focus is on the borrower, the money in your pocket will follow.
Selling yourself should be easy. Wouldn’t you do business with you? If your answer is no, we offer an ethics and law course. If the answer is no because you’re new, then focus your sales efforts on selling your company. It’s OK to be new and learning the business. Just make sure you have a mentor to review the information you are telling the borrower.
What motivates a person to purchase? Their desire for gain, fear of loss, comfort and convenience, security and protection, pride of ownership, and satisfaction of emotion. The loan originator must peak the interest and inspire the prospect to proceed with the loan and make a decision to proceed with the loan triggering one of these motives in the prospect. What will motivate your target market?
There are two main types of advertising and a method to combine both ads.
Brand or Image marketing promotes name recognition, and gives you the opportunity to sell your reputation or your company’s mission. This type of ads goal is to build awareness and interest.
Call-to-action or product marketing promotes the reader to do something or act on the offer. The ads goal is to present an offer and prompt a person to act.
Whole or Total approach ad incorporates both goals. Uniformity of advertising will allow brand or name recognition. Ads may use the same layout, font, logo, and/or slogan, picture, or other repetitive feature to the ad which will allow the reader quick recognition of who is the advertiser. Beyond the repetitive advertising features the ad is designed to meet your advertising strategy goal.
An advertising strategy should include the answers to the following questions:
Who is your target market?
What do I want the target market to know about me, my services, and/or my company?
Present one clear idea. Clear single focused communication will be understood the best.
Convey benefits not features. When you think of feature, ask yourself – “which means” what?
Why am I better than the hundreds of other loan originators?
Stay in compliance with advertising and lending laws. I would suggest a law class if you do not know an advertisement implying a rate or payment requires an APR, or that Fair Lending Laws require no discrimination and the display of the ECOA house symbol. There are also laws that prohibit you from not taking an application for a borrower that wants to make application for a home loan. Always ensure all advertising meets the federal and state law requirements to avoid fines and un-professional approach to the market.
The phone rings. You’re in the buying cycle. Now is the time to sell. What are you selling? First you are selling yourself, then your services (money), and your company. Don’t over sell with this initial contact. Remember this is for building interest to come in for an appointment. If needed, have your script ready so you don’t stumble and sound incompetent on the phone. Give a short pitch, and then ask if you can ask them a few questions. Screen the calls to determine viable prospects, and set appointments to meet the prospects that are serious about purchasing or refinancing. Make the decision if they should be brought in for an appointment, set up in future follow-up for a call back, or cut loose.
1ST step-Awareness – Get the phone to ring. You’re not trying to close the sale, just get a call. Do not make your marketing so busy that the message to call you is lost in the information. The message to call will need to touch the motivation of the target market.
2nd Step–Peak Interest–Screen the call and get the appointment, build rapport.
3rd Step – Inspire action to use you for their loan. At the loan application, convey value.
4th Step-Decision to close the loan
Then the cycle starts back to awareness. You expect referrals, and for them to use you again in the future. Your clients will react to your advertising in steps. People do not work with you because you make them understand every step; they work with your because they feel understood and trust you. No one wants to be sold; they want to make an informed decision to buy.
All marketing material should be tracked. If you receive no calls from a flyer you’ll know to not use it again, or you may want to reuse one that was successful. There are many ways to track. Some use an extension, code word or name for prospects to ask for such as Fred, even though there is no one in the office named Fred. The code word will let you know which marketing material generated the lead. You can also just ask how they heard about you and note on feedback worksheets. Feedback worksheets work well, and make analyzing results easier. Having a 1-2% return on a mass mailing is average. After analyzing the results of a marketing campaign, evaluate and make adjustments for future marketing campaigns.
The last step in marketing is the appointment, make sure you listen. Listen to what their concerns and fears are and then focus your presentation based on their personal needs. You need to create desire to use you for their home purchase or refinance. If you convey value and instill trust, they may not shop you. Testimonials and other success stories may help if they relate to issues the borrower is also facing.
A problem with many sales people is they talk themselves out of the sale. They are too busy talking, and they forget to listen. Experts have proven the best communicator is a LISTENER! How do you show them you are listening? Meet or address their needs or concerns they have told you they have. Good luck with your 2008 marketing campaign.

Linda Williams is the VP of Marketing and Trainer for Mortgage Trainers of North America where ‘Knowledge is power, power to drive your business and your success’. She has been a Mortgage Professional for 30 years and a Trainer for 15 years. For more information on Linda or training opportunities, visit or email

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Does the MArket Change what an agent must do to Succeed?

by JR Sangiuliano
YES, GET OFF YOUR ASS and work. Everyday in a good market, bad market, up market, down market, it does not matter you have to work 40 to 60 ours a week. If you want to make an above average income you must put in above average hours at you trade. Realtors think just being in the office they are working or better yet fooling their broker into thinking they are working. A realtor must spend his or her time meeting new people and calling on friends and family and family of friend and friends of family EVERYDAY. Add to that calls to past and present clients, some prospecting of businesses, calling strangers, attacking For Sale By Owners & Expired listings, and working with buyers for only 10% of your day and you have the make up of a successful real estate agent. But here is a news flash...IF THAT DOES NOT WORK DO SOMETHING ELSE TO MAKE IT WORK, hand out flyer's, blanket the parking lot of you local shop rite, DO SOMETHING. The most successful agents do as much of this prospecting face to face as possible because that is the most affecting method. This does not change with the changes in the market. The only thing that changes with the market is how hard you have to work, the time it takes for money to hit your pocket, and the prices of the homes you sell. But as for the daily activities of the full time agent in this career your duties and responsibilities to your fellow team members and your company do not change. Every agent that spend 80% of each working day prospecting, self promoting, and generating leads will not feel any drop off in production. The problem is that most agents fall pray to the crap they hear on the news and that affects their CONSISTENCY everyday. That is the key: to be consistent with your activities. Well that is my lesson and thoughts of the day