A Quick Minute of Motivation

In this new motivational series, I’ll highlight how to become a Peak Performer.

In today’s Peak Performer Series message I wanted to ask you a question – Do you own it? If you’re selling homes, do you own your own home? Do you own your business and your business plan? Learn more about the impact of “owning it” and how it will benefit your business.

Need more motivation? Give me a call at 703-652-5777 or email at scottmacdonald@remax.net

Now go sell something! 

And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog at www.scottymacsblog.com

It’s good to know!

We had another great real estate exchange yesterday at Clyde’s in Ashburn sponsored by Jane Clawson at Ekko Title and Josh Burruss at Potomac Mortgage Group.  We discussed the Loudoun housing market as well as the Northern Virginia housing market and how inventory is up due to the time of year but distressed property inventory is down.  This trend has been occurring for the last few weeks throughout the region. 

New home sales are more and more prevalent as the houses that are for sale are not priced right or are not in the right condition and if they are, they are receiving multiple offers with escalation clauses.  In addition to lack of acceptable housing in the resale market, builders are now priced right and are offering a viable option. 

A few agents are experience appraisal issues and as prices escalate, we anticipate seeing even more as underwriters are not in sync with the market and appraisers want to be conservative and not be too far ahead of the curve in pricing like we saw from 2004-2006 – stay tuned!

Josh mentioned that rates remain great – 4.75% with no points on conforming/FHA products and just 5% on conforming jumbo products.  One reason we continue to see great rates is that inflation is came in lower than expected on Friday despite the fact that gas prices and food prices are on the rise.  On Monday, Standard and Poor’s downgraded the US debt which resulted in a slight uptick in rates.  It is the first time since 1995-1996 that they have downgraded the debt, if this trend continues, we will see rates rise and rise quickly – keep an eye out for further announcements.  Loan applications continue to roll in for purchases – 86% of applications were purchase apps and 75% of those were for new homes.  Again, new homes are having an impact in the Northern Virginia housing market.

Jane discussed the importance of utilizing reputable partners when buying or selling houses.  They have seen recent trends when researching titles that there are rampant defects in title.  This is because previous title companies have not gone back 40 years when looking at the title history, they just went back an owner or two. Jane and her team will go back and contact the banks to get liens released or indemnify the parties so they can move forward with the transaction, receive their title insurance and move forward. Lately, they are seeing unreleased liens, mistakes made with the wrong substitute trustee selling the properties, issues with previous second trusts and more.  Be sure you work with a reputable team to handle these issues and protect your clients.   Also, remember that you cannot put “owner of record” as seller on your contracts.  Call Ekko and they can do a quick title bring down and let you know who is the owner of the property – you need to know who has the authority to sell the house. It’s good to know and to work with people in the know.

Next, we discussed our listings and reviewed buyer needs.  Activity on listings is up which means buyers are out in the marketplace – get your house in the right condition and price it right to get a sale!  Investors are still hungry for properties in the lower price points as the rental market remains strong and rents are brining great returns.

It is imperative to stay on top of the market, review trends, and network with other professionals to inform your clients of what to do when buying or selling real estate.  Get it?  Got it?  Good!

Now, go sell something!

Slow & steady we move along…

The real estate market is moving steadily along today but with reservation.  As corporations continue to move into our area and the state attracts businesses all over the Commonwealth, we were ranked #7 in the most transient states in the country – pretty impressive for those of us selling houses!  In order to be successful, you have to find the buyers and sellers so get out there and get busy looking – they won’t come to you, you have to go to them!

In addition to this, existing home sales increased 7.6% in April.  This was expected as the home buyer tax credit was set to expire but let’s keep a close eye on this in the coming months and see if the sales momentum continues.  We should be in good shape and should continue to outpace the rest of the country as we continue to create jobs, have affordable housing prices, and interest rates remain low.

Not only did existing home sales increase but so did new home sales!  New home sales rose 14.8% in April – the highest performance in two years!  Be wary however as the pace of new home permits dropped 10.7% in April as well.  We can expect this number to drop next month as a result of fewer permits being issued couple with low builder inventory.

Mortgage interest rates also continue to be a driving force in continued sales.  This week it was reported interest rates are at their lowest level since December as the instability in financial markets overseas have lowered borrowing costs.  If rates continue to stay low, buyers will understand the fundamentals for ownership are strong and will continue buy homes.

Another key to the market continuing to blossom this spring is consumer confidence.  As the economy continues to improve and we ease out of the recession, consumers believe their personal situation is improving and as a result, they are spending again.  As we know, consumers drive the recovery in their “perception” of their situation and not necessarily, reality.

Now, let’s talk about the reservation part of the blog.  Although refinance applications remain strong – they have increased 3 consecutive weeks – purchase applications have continued to decrease and have done so four consecutive weeks.  As a result, purchase applications have dropped to their lowest levels since 1997.  Keep a close eye on this number as it indicates future settlements on home purchases.

Next, is the double dip in home prices that Dave Stevens mentioned at our year end meeting in December.  Two price indices – the dreaded S&P Case-Shiller and the Federal Housing Finance Agency reported housing price decreases in the first quarter.  As we have mentioned, the under $400,000 market and the $800,000 – $1,000,000 market continue to be strong but the inventory priced between $400,000 – $800,000 are still trying to find the bottom and that is where a majority of our houses are priced today.  Couple this with the fact that mortgage delinquency rates have hit 10% – a record.  If these homes go into foreclosure and don’t end up as a HAP sale or a short sale, prices could continue to slide.

Lastly, another monkey wrench that could be thrown into the equation that could affect getting home loans is if Fannie Mae implements the right to pull credit up until the day of closing.  It can have a significant impact on a purchaser’s ability to close on their loan if their credit score goes down by just one point.  As we know, it is monkey see monkey do in the lending arena so others may implement this same strategy to limit the number of defaults in the future.  Stay tuned for further details.

So, what do you do?  Work!  As previously mentioned – people are buying and selling houses here in Northern Virginia – get out there and network.  Create urgency – rates won’t stay this low forever, prices will increase and if you can afford the home today, buy it.  Be a professional Realtor and set yourself apart from others in the industry and you will survive in any market.  Get it?  Got it?  Good!

Do you have pride in all you do?

The longer you do something, the longer you realize how important having pride in what you do is so important to your growth as a business person and how it plays into how you get more referrals or stay employed longer.  The question to ask yourself is – do you have it in you?  Do you have or take pride in what you do?  Do you feel confident that you are doing the best you can do and are performing to the best of your abilities?  Do you feel remorse when something slips through the cracks or if you feel you are not doing your best or giving it your all?  Are you doing the minimum to just collect a paycheck or are you pumped up to go to work and improve upon what you did the day before, every day?  Are you doing the little things when no one else is looking because you know it is the right thing to do?  Are you doing the right stuff to do the job better than someone else?  If so, you are taking pride in what you do.  We have made the decision to take pride in what we do for you.  Our goal is to provide you with the best training, education, support and so much more.

As we have done in the past, let’s break down the word pride and discuss the elements of each letter:

Professionalism – embracing professionalism in the way you dress, the way you speak with others, the way you approach each day shows you have pride in what you do for a living.

Responsibility – the idea is to not only take on the job you were hired to do but to take on even more.  The more you do, the more you will get.  Also, do the right stuff – all the time.  You know what to do so do it!  Don’t take extra advantage of your lunch hour, being on the internet to surf the web during work hours, etc.  Be responsible and be the ultimate agent or employee.

Initiative – take the initiative to take on more projects and suggest new ideas.   Be proactive, creative, take the lead on projects – don’t wait to be assigned a task or responsibility.  What do you think about while you are at work?

Dedication – you must be dedicated to what you are doing.  It is the drive within you that makes all the difference in your success.  Be dedicated and get more satisfaction and better results out of what you are doing.

Excellence – this should be your minimum standard in the level at which you should be performing.  If you provide excellent service, perform at an excellent level, you can always expect to be given referrals and get promoted more quickly than others in your field.

Are you interested in taking more pride in what you do?  Ask the experts, be engaged, be active, read, learn, attend trainings to understand your field, be positive, make your job your priority and improve everyday and you will shine.  Get it?  Got it?  Good!

Now, go sell something!