Issue 054 Januray 2012 TheNicheReport.com
For Mortgage Origination Professionals
HARP 2.0 Political angel but the devil is in the details ...
FEATURE ARTICLE! Web 2.0 Marketing Secrets for Mortgage Pros, Part II Harness the power of online video!
Success Today? Don't be afraid to change
Up 50 Bringing The Rear U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
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**Eligible investment assets may be pledged in lieu of a down payment. The pledge must equal up to 200% of the required down payment. If the account value drops below 168%, the borrower must replenish the account or the lender may require the sale of all or a portion of the pledged assets. A pledged asset account funded with 100% cash equivalent assets has an initial pledge amount and minimum pledge amount equal to 100% of the base. All borrowers should consult a financial planner before selecting this type of loan. The Pledged Asset Loan Program is not available in all states. Effective 11/17/2011. The above terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.
Web2.0 Marketing Secrets for Mortgage Pros, Part II Harness the power of online video! Doren Aldana
NICHE REPORTS prime & FHA Commercial REVERSE MORTGAGE Construction/Rehab HARD MONEY JUMBO Service Providers
pg 41 pg 41 pg 42 pg 42 pg 42 pg 42 pg 43
Publishers Robert Pegg firstname.lastname@example.org David Pegg email@example.com
HARP 2.0 adam hebener www.thebetterbanker.com Political angel but the devil is in the details ...
The Psychology of the Reverse Mortgage David ellis Sr. Mortgage Advisor 1ST Rate Mortgage Help our seniors overcome the incorrect perceptions.
The Role of a Private Money Lender Martin Goodman www.privatemoneylendingguide.com The front end of the transaction is just the tip of the iceberg.
Success Today? Ralph lovuolo, Sr. Sr. President Mortgage Motivator Don't be afraid to change.
Keeping up with the Jones Chris jones branch manager city first mortgage services Are you committing brand suicide?
From Editor's Desk
online lead generation
31 36 38 46 50
shh ... frank and brian speak tip of the month What's your mortgage IQ? LENDER & RESOURCE DIRECTORY BRINGING UP THE REAR
MANAGING EDITOR Stewart Mednick firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL / CONTENT MANAGER Kristen Moser email@example.com ACCOUNTING MANAGER Shawna Ingram firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Director Jessica Grizzle Jessica@thenichereport.com Advertising sales Heather Bopp Heather@thenichereport.com Production Manager Henry Suchman email@example.com Production Assistant Dawn Exner firstname.lastname@example.org Cartoonist Martin Bradford COLUMNISTS & Contributing Authors Martin Andelman Doren Aldana Karen Deis David Ellis Martin Goodman Frank Garay Adam Hebener Chris Jones Ralph LoVuolo Sr. Chaibia Sarhrou Brian Stevens
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From the Editor's Desk
“New beginnings.” With every New Year come new beginnings. Congress attempts to pass a new national budget. New Year’s resolutions are stated. Fiscal spending is reset for another 365 days. New mortgage regulations begin and old ones expire. Housing industry statics for a new year are reset and the previous years’ are folded into another regression algorithm. Trends are restated, reanalyzed and new predictions are spewed from the industry pundits like Christmas wish list toys from the mouths of babes. “New beginnings” is a science experiment in physics. Physics is about changes. Change is the hope of a new beginning. Change is hoped to be good, but may turn bad. This initiates pendulous motions and predictions. The motion of actions to fix, correct, create and improve your mortgage business can easily become broke, faulty, stagnant and worse than how things started. This is all physics. Einstein, Newton and Hawking all developed theories of motion and time; physics. These theories guide how our universe operates. Things go up or go down. They expand and contract. They improve or worsen. Two directions for every plane of measurement; left or right, up or down, forward or backward. That’s all we get; two choices. Your two choices in the mortgage business are simple: are you going to close loans and be successful, or is your competition? So, for every new beginning, either the elements of physics will work in a favorable or unfavorable means. The question is: are we working with the laws of physics or working against to close more loans? There are some external forces in this universe that we can not control. These forces either work in a favorable or unfavorable manner in regard to our “new beginnings.” What we can control is our actions. If our actions are harmonious to the established laws of physics, then you have a favorable chance to become the most successful loan officer or broker in obtaining your goals. Physics and the mortgage business can mix like chocolate and milk, or it can mix like oil and water. How you move and what direction your actions lead determines your success. Yes, you have the power to determine your own destiny. Physics says this is so. Science is an absolute. Physics is a science. Your actions are either going to act in your favor to obtain your goal, or act unfavorably. The beauty is, you have the choice. “New beginnings for 2012.” Either you succeed as a mortgage professional, or you do not. Simple physics. Your choice…your actions. Choose wisely and act with vigor. And to know how, when, and in what direction to act, The Niche Report is right there with you to help your science experiment of a mortgage origination business to be successful.
Make 2012 the best “new beginning” ever.
Stewart Mednick Managing Editor
H.A.R.P 2.0 Political Angel but the Devil is in the Details…
by adam hebener
hen the Obama administration announced plans to revamp their failed HARP 1.0 plan, lenders and consumers alike received the information with the healthy skepticism born of countless hours spent trying to navigate previous ‘improvements’ government officials have made to Mortgage Lending. In the least surprising event of the century, it turns out that HARP 2.0 is likely to fall short of serving its intended 2 Million homeowners. I hate to say it, but my skepticism remains intact. It isn’t that I want to be a skeptic, trust me; I’m an optimist, maybe even a romantic. But after two failed attempts at just one program, I’m starting to get a sneaking suspicion that maybe Uncle Sam isn’t the best business man. Maybe it’s just me. For those who may not yet know, HARP stands for the Home Affordable Refinance Program. It’s aimed at homeowners who are upside down in their first mortgage 10
but who have never missed a payment. Theoretically, HARP 2.0 would allow qualified homeowners otherwise prevented by LTV restrictions, to refinance to prevailing interest rates which are at historic lows. The thought is that these homeowners are less likely to walk on their mortgages if the payment is made more affordable. Oh yeah, it also makes those with political ambitions look like they’re actually doing something instead of making things worse (I’m talking to you Dodd/Frank). To be honest, I’m not even convinced that lower payments will translate to fewer foreclosures (anyone seen refinance default rates lately?) but even if I grant you that one, HARP 2.0 is destined for some huge logistical problems. For the sake of space, I won’t even bother to mention the millions of second mortgage holders unlikely to subordinate their position to allow new HARP loans in place, or the fact that HARP 2.0 contains no provision for the millions of incomes which may have been affected by the downturn. FHA streamline anyone? To keep it concise, let’s just stick to the lender perspectives on this. We’ll worry about the consumer side another time.
Though the intention behind HARP 2.0 was seemingly benevolent, like much of what is handed to private industry from the Hill, it has little hope of widespread implementation. Here are the issues: First, and perhaps most boneheaded, while HARP is a Fannie/Freddie product, neither of them updated their AUS systems to allow for automated approvals of this loan. The most recent updates from both agencies indicate that HARP 2.0 won’t be included in AUS capabilities until at least the end of the first quarter of 2012. Since the vast majority of correspondent lenders rely on AUS for their approvals to Fannie/Freddie Servicers, this automatically cuts out a large portion of the conduit that would close these loans. It is worth noting that there are a few lenders closing HARP 2.0 loans today. Servicing banks, offering the loan to their own portfolios of upside down loans in hopes that lower payments will create lower defaults are taking advantage of the guidelines but in a very limited number. Additionally, there are a couple of broker conduits allowing them as well as direct to Agency correspondent lenders who are delegated to deliver mortgages manually. While there are a few loans trickling through these sources, pricing seems to be prevented widespread application. Despite these brave few, the main channel of mortgage providers, the correspondent lender remain prevented from closing HARP 2.0. In addition to the AUS issue already mentioned, a greater fundamental question faces HARP 2.0. How do we deal with risk profiles? Consider the following scenario. Let’s say a correspondent lender closed a 200,000 loan in 2007 in the sunny Las Vegas. At the time, the value may have been 220,000.00 and the LTV was ninety percent. At closing, we’ll pretend the loan was sold Countrywide
(remember them?). Post downturn, the house is worth 150,000 and the LTV is closer to 130%. Enter your friendly neighborhood correspondent LO at ABC Mortgage offering the HARP 2.0. The consumer loves the payment reduction and is eager to close but the deal has hit a snag. As my GMAC correspondent rep points out, no new lender is eager to take on the risk of an upside down mortgage they aren’t already stuck with. Sure, Fannie and Freddie promise through the HARP provision to ultimately buy the loan regardless of its LTV issues, but Fannie and Freddie haven’t exactly been easy to work with lately. Let’s say, six months into making the new payment, the borrower decides that it just isn’t ever going to be worth it so he might as well get the foreclosure over with now instead of later. If history is any indication, the agencies will be searching every inch of that file for a reason to cram it back down the servicer’s throat, flimsy collateral and all. The servicer, in turn, will be looking for any reason to toss that hot potato back to the correspondent originator before they get burned. On normal loans defaults are bad enough but are usually mitigated by collateral that is at least in spitting distance of the debt obligation. Not so in a defaulted HARP loan. This leaves investors with only one reasonable option to deal with the increased risk of high LTV’s and decreased reward of lower interest rates, the ever dreaded overlay. Expect investors to restrict the purchasing of these loans with substantial internal guideline enhancements beyond what Fannie/Freddie are requiring. I expect this to limit the number of potential borrowers. As a romantic, I remain hopeful that the private industry side of the HARP 2.0 equation can find creative ways to open up new lending opportunities for originators and homeowners in 2012. Even so, based on today’s iteration, I’m not holding my breath. The bottom line is that while HARP 2.0 made great press for some of our leaders in Washington, consumers and the originators who serve them, are unlikely to be playing any happy tunes with this instrument. Adam Hebener, "The Better Banker", is a top producing loan officer in Denver, CO. With 12 years of lending experience, Adam is a sought after public speaker on industry related and business growth topics. Check Adam out at www. thebetterbanker.com
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YouTube: Discover Powerful Secrets that can help you sell more
ost people in our industry love it when a prospect calls you up and practically demands to have you take care of them, no matter the costs or circumstances. What’s that? It doesn’t happen that often to you? Well, let’s just fix that today! After reading this article, you will have the knowledge and resources to position yourself as the ‘Go To’ expert in your industry, along with using the incredible power of Video Testimonials to do all of the heavy lifting and selling for you! By the time a highly targeted prospect is sitting in front of your desk or on the other end of the phone, they will be already sold on doing business with YOU, paying your PRICE, and trusting your ADVICE. How does that sound? A little too good to be true? Well, today I will introduce a tool that will help you achieve just that. The tool that I’m talking about is the all Powerful YOUTUBE!! It seems like everywhere you turn, the social buzz is all about Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Did we somehow forget about the staggering power of YouTube? With almost 3 Billion views per day and over 48 hours of video being uploaded each minute, it’s hard to ignore this growing giant. One final fact that you should take
into consideration is that YouTube is the 2nd most sought after search engine in the world, second only to its owner, Google! It would be unwise to have an online marketing campaign that does not incorporate YouTube videos as a marketing strategy. So now you might be asking, “How can I turn this ‘Giant’ into my ‘Servant?” You may have heard the expression, “people do business with people they know, like and trust…” YouTube is the most effective way to make that happen. There is something special about the connection that is made when someone sees your face, looks in your eyes, hears your voice and completely understands your words. Yes, this is very common when you conduct a 1 on 1 consultation with your prospects or referral partners. I’m sure that you’ve wasted countless hours in front of prospects that aren’t qualified, or that are simply price shopping you. This is definitely the traditional way to do business and ‘sell’ your services. However, this is definitely NOT the most productive way. Now with the awesome power of video, you have the capability to ‘Clone’ yourself and multiply your results. You can weed out the unqualified prospects, saving yourself time and money. You’ll be saving wasted hours
that you would not get paid for, and you will be working primarily with qualified buyers that are eager to move forward. At the same time build credibility, authority and trust by using video testimonials. Before we get too deep in this article, let me begin by saying that it’s impossible for me to cover all aspects of video marketing in this small space. There are entire schools dedicated to teaching video production courses. However, I will give you a solid foundation of how to get started quickly and the most important elements that anybody can use to get maximum exposure with their YouTube videos. Also, as far as equipment… you can get started with a smart phone and basic software that’s found online (or on your personal computer). When marketing on YouTube, the most important thing is to be found and to get seen. The biggest, ‘take away’ that I want you to have today, is the understanding how to properly optimize your videos so that they can be found when your prospects are looking for your content. Content is KING and content can attract or repel your viewers. I will be going over some creative topics and ideas that can help you engage your viewers and subscribers to get them to know, like and trust you!
WHAT TO PUT IN MY VIDEOS If you have been in the industry for a while, then I’m sure you can find at least 10 questions that clients keep asking over and over again. I’m also sure that there is at least 10 pieces of advice that you keep offering to these clients that they never think to ask you about, but you volunteer the information. Make a video answering each one of the 10 questions and the 10 pieces of advice that you offer. Now, you have 20 videos and you know what?? In the eyes of a new prospect, you are the expert!! Because you answered the questions, even before they asked them. More importantly, you answered questions that they never even thought to ask. Getting involved with the conversation that’s inside of your borrower’s head is one of the most powerful psychological techniques in marketing, and you can do it quite easily through the amazing power of video. Testimonials are HUGE, if done right! They’re also unbelievably underused. Let me tell you about a strategy for powerful video testimonials. What are some of the most common objections or fears that someone will have in their mind when deciding to work with you? Some objection could be your rate, trust, or maybe they might not believe that you have enough experience, etc. You can make a
list of each one of these objections and ask your clients to address at least one of them. That way, by the time you meet the prospect, all of their objections have been addressed. This is a very powerful strategy that should not be overlooked. The same technique can be applied for Joint Venture partners, referral partners, and anyone else that you’re looking to grow your business with. Let the video testimonials do the heavy lifting of selling them on working with you. Building your credibility and positioning you as the Expert Advisor and the ONLY obvious choice.
CREATE YOUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL If you haven’t done so, go now and set up your YouTube Account. YouTube will guide you step by step through the process. A few things that I want to bring to your attention are: • Optimize the name of your channel: Do a simple keyword search to see what people are looking for in your industry, for example, “home buying tips”, unless you really want to brand your name, then use your REAL NAME. • Optimize your Title & Channel Tags: Use the keywords that you want to be found by throughout your title, tags, and description. • Make sure your channel is visible: This will allow your channel to be found. • Branding: I recommend that you have your channel custom designed for your branded presence, make it memorable and outstanding!! If not, you’re going to be buried by the thousands of competitor’s channels. • Allow Comments: Let people post their comments to create engagement. • Auto Play Video: Make sure to have your featured video play automatically. That will increase the numbers of views each time someone clicks on your channel. OPTIMIZING YOUR VIDEO To make sure your videos get maximum exposure, they need to be properly optimized. The following are key points to remember: • Title: Always remember to put your primary keyword in your title. A very cool trick to make this more effective is to write your main keyword, add a colon and then rephrase it. (example: Home Buying Tips: 10 Things to Look for When Buying A Home) TheNicheReport.com
• Description: Start with your URL, make sure to include the (HTTP://) YouTube will hyper link it for you so you get traffic to your website. Explain exactly what your video is about and put keywords throughout your description. The more content you put, the better. • Tags: Put keywords that make sense and are most relevant to your video. • Category: It’s less important, so go with anything that makes sense. I would go with ‘education’. • Post a Bulletin: Post something and include a link to the video. This will post on the homepage of all of your subscribers bringing them back to your video, which is very powerful to get views and create exposure for your videos. • YouTube is a social platform: Post your video to your blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Video Directories to ensure maximum exposure.
How to sell in your video… The key point in what we are talking about today is to sell your services to your viewers. Before you start selling, you need to make a compelling statement. Grabbing the viewer’s attention is 100% crucial! If you can’t keep them interested, you have little to no chance of selling them. Once they’re interested, they will stay until the end and come back for more. Having GREAT content is the key! Now that you have their interest, you can move to your ‘Call to Action’. Here are a few ideas to remember when it comes to your call to action: • Include it in your video: It’s very important to put a call to action inside of your video, after all we’re putting our efforts in those videos to get some. Your CTA should be something that tells the viewer exactly what to do next. It can be, call your phone, visit your website, or download a free report, etc.
Display your website address, along with your phone number at the bottom of the video. Remember this when you’re editing your video. • In the description: Put a hyper link (by adding HTTP://) in the link to your website. The link will turn blue, and people will be able to click on it to go directly to your website.
Sneaky Little Trick I want to leave you with a final ‘trick’ that can be powerful for you. This is a creative way to get video testimonials from your JV partners and clients. Find a cheap digital camcorder, I’ve seen them as low as $40 online. Send it through snail mail to your clients with a video of yourself asking them to please shoot a testimonial for you showing the house that you got them (or whatever outcome). Ask them to please upload their video and email it back to you. As a ‘Thank You’, they can keep the camera as a ‘House warming gift’ from you. That video piece will be worth a LOT more value than the camera was. You can use it in all of your marketing efforts for years to come! In conclusion, as I mentioned earlier, I’m severely limited on the amount of content that I can give you here. If you would like more training on YouTube Marketing, I have a FREE workbook with a very detailed checklist, along with step by step training videos that I’m offering ONLY to The Niche Report subscribers. Please visit www. cssocialmedia.com/youtube if you’re interested. Chaibia Sarhrou is the CEO of CS Social Media, an Online & Social Media Marketing company specializing in the Mortgage and Real Estate industries. She has consulted with many top producing agents and speaks at Real Estate and Mortgage companies to educate them on monetizing their social media efforts. Chaibia can be contacted at chaibia@ cssocialmedia.com .
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By doren aldana
n last month’s article, we talked about how to close more loans using Facebook by setting up your own “free marketing tips” fan page for Real Estate agents. In case you missed it, you can get up to speed by watching my video tutorial at: www. done4uvideomarketing.com/agentfanpage. Once you've signed up in Facebook with your main Profile Account, and you’ve set up your Realtor Tips Fan Page, now you're ready to post content on your fan page. Before we get into the details of what exactly to post, let's talk about what NOT to post. 1. Don't post negative news. For example, don't be a Negative Norbert or a Negative Nelly who rants about how bad the economy is or how difficult it is to get a mortgage because the rates or the minimum down payment just went up. Remember, you want to be a ray of sunshine, not a gloomy cloud. In other words, if there was an earthquake in California, while everyone else was freaking out, you’d be the one talking about how good the surf is in Hawaii! There’s always a way to turn lemons into lemonade – if you look for it. 2. Don't post boring graphs and charts. You don't want to put people to sleep (unless they're complaining about their insomnia problems). 3. Don't post abbreviations, slang terms or jargon. Deliver your message in simple, laymen's terms. You need your fans to understand what you're posting so that there's no disconnect. 4. Don’t overdo the mortgage stuff. Contrary to what you might see your peers doing, just talking about mortgage rates, mortgage trends and real estate is not a good idea. In fact, unless you want to bore them to death, it’s best that you only post mortgage-related content once per month. 5. Don't post about politics. The moment you start bashing the President or a particular political party, you have at least a 50% chance of offending someone. Unless you are intentionally trying to attract only staunch liberals or conservatives, it’s best just not to go there. 6. Don't ask for referrals – just focus on giving first. If you don’t already have a strong relationship with a solid bond of trust established, asking for referrals can
often do more harm than good. With a void of trust, asking for referrals can make you look needy and selfish – attached to a particular outcome. It’s much more attractive to simply focus on being a conduit of service: someone who is committed to providing real, unique value that improves his or her life. Trust me, this will generate lots of referrals without even asking for them! Like I said earlier, most of this is common sense but you’d be surprised how uncommon “common sense” is nowadays. The next point I'm going to make actually came from a buddy of mine, Carl White, who is an absolute genius when it comes to marketing. This really impacted me when I first heard it, so much so that I’d be remiss not to share it with you. So here it is… Your job as a mortgage professional, is to take your target market (in this case, Realtors) from a frown face, feeling depressed, stressed, anxious, heavy, dry, dull, bored, etc. – which is where most people live – and take them to a smiley face where they feel relieved, if not happy. Mark Twain once said, “Most people live in a quiet state of desperation.” If that’s true, the objective of your Facebook posts (along with all your other marketing) is to take them from dullsville to delight, and you can do that by providing helpful tips that are meaningful, worthwhile and impactful. This might seem like an outlandish goal beyond your ability, but if you shoot for the moon and miss, chances are you’ll still land among the stars. So what kind of content should you post for Realtors? Here are a few ideas: 1. How to get more quality listings and sell them fast and for top dollar. 2. How to get more qualified buyer leads. They need buyer leads to sell their properties, right? 3. How to achieve a higher success rate at their listing presentations. For example, if they do ten listing presentations and they're only closing four out ten and you provide a few tips that help them close eight out of ten, they're making double the money with the same amount of effort. That's a huge positive impact in their life! 4. How to attract more referrals (without asking for them).
5. How to attract more repeat business by mining the gold from their database. 6. How to use technology to streamline, automate, systematize their marketing so they can do all the above with less time, energy and effort. Those are just a few ideas, which will give you plenty of ammunition for killer content that's relevant and valuable to a real estate professional. Now, at this point you might be wondering, “Where do I get my ideas and tips? I mean where am I going to get all this info?” Good question. After all, you can't give that which you do not have. You’ve got to find some place to dig up this information so you can serve it to your real estate agents on a silver platter. Here are a couple ideas for you: 1. Got to www.ezinearticles.com – which is the largest article directory on the planet. Just search for realtor tips, or real estate agent tips, and you'll find plenty of ideas for helping them grow their business, and it’s all free info! 2. Invest in a few Realtor marketing home study courses. If it’s a good quality course, the tools, training and systems it provides will give you loads of gems you can spoon-feed to your real estate agents for months – and even years – to come. All the while they'll think you're a genius! Now that you know what content to provide your Realtors, the question is, “What’s the best, most effective format for delivering your content?” Of course, the answer
How we see it
is VIDEO! TV has sold more products and services than any other media on the planet. Billions and billions of dollars have been sold using video through TV advertising. Up until about five years ago, online video marketing was still relatively costly and laborious. However, with today’s new technology, marketing with video is not only easy, it’s very affordable – in many cases it’s free! There are two main types of online videos. The first type is the Talking Head Video. This can be done by simply recording yourself talking in front of a webcam, digital camera, iPhone, etc. Oftentimes people use teleprompter software to display their script on the computer screen so they can remember what to say. Teleprompters are fine as long as you don’t look like you’re reading from a script. The second type is called Screen Capture Video, which records your computer screen and your voice narration at the same time. This is often done using PowerPoint, so it looks kind of like an online webinar. The screen capture software required for this ranges from free to $300, depending on the editing capability. For a list of recommended screen capture software vendors, visit: www. dorenrecommends.com. It's very easy to create screen capture video, especially if you're already doing live webinars because all you need to do is record the live webinar once and BOOM! – you just created tons of content that you can slice, dice, and repurpose a multitude of ways. Another great benefit of screen capture video is that it allows you to create a video without having to have a “good hair day” – just press record on your screen capture software, click through your PowerPoint slide show, speak into your USB headset microphone, and you're good to go! In next month’s article, I’ll teach you how to build a herd of Realtor fans on Facebook who know you, like you, trust you, and most importantly, refer business to you.• Doren Aldana is considered by many to be Canada’s leading Mortgage Marketing Coach. Since 2005, he has been dedicated to helping mortgage professionals attract more clients with less effort, regardless of market conditions. Among Aldana’s latest innovations, is a completely done-for-you video marketing solution that allows you to instantly deploy powerful videos through social media that attract mortgage clients like crazy. To see a free demo, visit: www.Done4UVideoMarketing.com
The Psychology of the Reverse Mortgage Help our Seniors overcome the incorrect perceptions by david ellis
he Reverse Mortgage or HECM (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage) is one of the last great stated income loans in existence today. It has the easiest qualifications of any loan I can imagine. There are only 4 basic qualifiers. One - our Senior is at least 62 years old. Two - our Senior lives in the home as their primary residence. Three - The home is in relatively good condition. Four - there is sufficient equity in the home - typically 40% to 65% depending on the age of our client. This loan gets even better for our Senior since the loan will pay off any existing lien and our borrower will not need to make a payment for the rest of his life. The balance of the Reverse Mortgage only becomes due when the last remaining Senior permanently leaves the home for more than twelve months. With Social Security payments uncertain, Pensions and 401K accounts diminishing, more and more of our Seniors can utilize the idle dollars in their homes; by eliminating a monthly mortgage payment and even obtaining cash to use in their daily lives. In most cases having a Reverse Mortgage permanently increases their cash flow by forty percent or more.
With easy qualifications and the need for more cash you would imagine that Seniors would be running to get in line to use a Reverse Mortgage. Instead a great majority of Seniors avoid paying attention to the Reverse Mortgage. Why? They believe in myths and have perceptions that simply are not true. As Loan Originators, do we know how to set the stage and manage realistic expectations and calm the unfounded fears of our Seniors? My father, Len Ellis said to me once, "Worry is the misuse of imaginationâ€? We tend to stick our lives in neutral and worry about things that never happen, and if they do, events are usually far better than what we imagined them to be. Our Seniors do the same with Reverse Mortgages. If The Reverse Mortgage (HECM) was put on to the Adam Savage Discovery show "Myth Bustersâ€? almost every single Myth about the Reverse Mortgage would be busted. There are about seventy myths that our Seniors disguise in the form of objections. I will cover five of them. Myth #1 - Seniors like to be called A Senior. False. If you call any Senior Citizen younger than 74 a Senior, they will be offended in some way. They think their parents should be called Seniors, not them. Call them a Grandparent. Grandparents and Seniors tend to see themselves 10 years younger than they are. TheNicheReport.com
Myth #2 - Seniors and Grandparents often say Reverse Mortgages are bad, or any variation of that theme. Whenever I hear this objection I then ask the question, "Would you agree that a brand new good quality chain saw would be a good tool to cut down a sizable tree?" I then hear a yes. Then I ask, "Would you ever use a chain saw to open up a letter?” I almost always receive an answer with the person chuckling at the same time saying "Oh no, I couldn't imagine ever doing that. That would be dangerous". I then tell them. That is exactly my point, a Reverse Mortgage is a tool, and when properly used it will profoundly change your life for the better. Myth #3 Seniors and Grandparents often say - I feel like a failure by getting a reverse mortgage? Instead of getting flustered and not knowing how to address this concern I then ask, A failure? Compared to whom? Compared to what? I ask with an understanding tone looking for clarification and I wait for each answer. I will then ask, "If someone dies with more equity in their home, how are they not a failure? Then I wait again for their answer. I will then follow up with this question and ask, "I am curious and wonder do you believe that he who dies with the most equity in their home wins? Myth #4 Seniors and Grandparents often Say - I want to wait until I'm older. I am only 62 right now and Reverse Mortgages will still be the same down the road. I will then ask, "Some of us want to get the most money out of our lives and others would like to get the most life out of their time. Which is most important to you? After asking a penetrating question silence can be a powerful tool. I will pause and wait for their answer. I usually follow up with the question, "How long have your parents and your other relatives lived?" I will then mirror their answer with their own age. Mitch Albom from Tuesdays with Morrie said, "We all know that we are going to die, but no one believes it". I ask this question to have them realize that each day is unique and precious and that by simply waiting they will not live their days to the fullest. Then I will ask, “What is your triggering event that will prompt you to obtain a Reverse Mortgage?" Sometimes our Senior will respond and say that they will get a Reverse Mortgage when they really need it. I then say that need is a minimal word and I ask, “Are you here to get the minimum or the most out of your life?" I finish by asking, “would you rather have a bird in hand with Reverse Mortgage now when loan limits are high and home values stable or a bird in the bush where loan limits go low, home values lower and have less money available? 22
Myth #5 Seniors and Grandparents often say - I want to leave something to the kids and if I do a Reverse Mortgage I won't have anything to leave them. I will then ask, "O.K. how much is enough?" The most common answer is, "I don't know, I have not thought about it". Then I answer, "My point exactly.” Then I will follow up with the question, "How much have you inherited in your life?" Most of the time they will say, “I have not received anything". I will then ask, "How did you turn out?" They usually answer that they had a few bumps and bruises but turned out just fine during their life. Then I ask them, “If I can show you how to have a Reverse Mortgage and leave money for your kids will you continue looking into obtaining a Reverse Mortgage?" Almost every Grandparent and Senior has said yes. In 2008 I had Mary Jane who just retired at age 74 as a Nurse after 50 years of selfless service. She wanted to work longer but could not because her hands were not as steady and she feared that she might accidentally hurt a patient. She was also working almost 10 years past a normal retirement because her home payment was so high. She had given and given to her family again and again by taking cash out of her home. Now retired, she only brought in $1700 a month between Social Security and her meager pension. She had $15,000 in a 401K account. Her mortgage was $2200 a month. You can see where this situation was headed fast. After going through the Reverse Mortgage Process we were able to close her HECM loan. I will never forget Mary Jane's closing. She was wiping away tears of gratitude as she signed the closing documents. After signing she looked at the escrow officer and then me and said, "because of this Reverse Mortgage I am able to stay in my home and not worry about my retirement. Thank you.” She stepped forward and gave me the biggest hug I can remember. That is why we do these loans. To help our Seniors overcome the incorrect perceptions and myths of the Reverse Mortgage and guide them into a better life to live. David Ellis is a Sr. Mortgage Advisor with 1ST Rate Mortgage "A Division of Pinnacle Capital Mortgage Corp." in Draper, Utah. David is a Reverse Mortgage Specialist and specializes with 203K and VA purchases. He has been a Bank Branch manager, past securities licenced and life insurance licenced. David is the President Elect of the Pleasant Grove, Utah Rotary Club. David has successfully owned three businesses. David was raised in Northern California and has resided in Utah for the past 26 years. He can be reached at www.davidellisutah.com
The Role of a Private Money Lender The front end of the transaction is just the tip of the iceberg
by martin goodman
rivate Money Lenders (PMLs) is a relatively new term which we will use to refer to a loan professional specializing in private money loans. Over the years, there have been a multitude of labels used including "private hard money lender", "hard money lender", and "hard money private lender". You will also hear PMLs called by names such as: Agents, Brokers, Loan Officers, Loan Brokers, or Mortgage Bankers. Knowing the players and the role they play is critical to getting the right loan, and getting it funded quickly. If you decide you need a private money loan, you want to be working with a loan professional that specializes in this arena. In traditional lending, the loan officer's primary role is on the front-end of the transaction. Taking the application, discussing loan programs and their qualifying criteria, and gathering the income and asset documentation from the borrower makes up the majority of their responsibilities. The loan file is then
passed on to processing, underwriting and closing staff that see it through to settlement. Lenders or funding sources are provided to the loan professional by the company or bank the loan officer works for. For private money lenders, the front end of the transaction is just the tip of the iceberg. These highly skilled entrepreneurs orchestrate the entire transaction from start to finish and in some cases are funding your loan with their own money. While they may re-sell your loan quickly to another investor to liquidate their funds, or secure the funds for your loan through an outside pool of investors, their skills and relationships with funding sources is vital to providing you with the money you need. Your private money lender manages and often personally performs all of the following processes required to get your loan closed: 1) Creating your loan package, including the application, income, credit, and asset documents you provide. 2) Gathering and reviewing title information as required. 3) Ordering payoff and loan reinstatements as needed. TheNicheReport.com
4) Advising you on the best available loan program they offer which will fill your need. 5) Providing you with all applicable federal and state disclosures. 6) Ordering and reviewing an appraisal or other asset valuation on the property. 7) Coordinating title and escrow services. 8) Underwriting and approving your file. 9) Providing a source of money (investor/lender) to fund your loan. 10) Determining the loan servicer (where you make your monthly payment) of your loan. 11) Creating final loan documents and coordinating loan settlement or closing. Let's take a closer look at what's involved with each step. Creating your loan package - A well documented and detailed loan package is key to finding a private investor willing to fund your loan. Expect to have the PML run a credit report, and ask you for tax returns for multiple years, financial statements, bank and investment statements along with a variety of other documents that provide proof of assets and liabilities. The PML will help you complete a loan application (frequently referred to as the 1003), as well as a document called a Statement of Information (SI). The SI assists the title company as they research the title of the property for liens and judgments. The documents required are unique to the type of loan and to each borrower's personal financial situation. What separates a great private money lender from a novice or a lender inexperienced in private money lending is that they will intimately know which documents their investor will need to approve the deal. Gathering and reviewing title information - A preliminary title report is an offer to insure your transaction by the title company and includes a summary of the existing liens, judgments, easements and other encumbrances on your property. It may be updated several times as well as immediately before closing. Title companies extend an offer to insure your transaction subject to the information in this report. Title insurance is a mandatory requirement of any investor. Filling out the SI form along with the application will give the title company and your PML the information they need to get your loan processed quickly. Your PML reviews this report and will discuss with you any detrimental or unexpected items that may prevent your loan from funding. 24
Ordering Payoffs and Reinstatements - Ordering payoffs and reinstatements for a loan is trickier than it sounds. A payoff is a document from a lien holder specifying the exact amount to pay off the lien entirely where a reinstatement is a statement from the lien holder (typically a mortgage or trust deed) which gives an exact amount to bring a delinquent loan current. Depending on the type of lien, the payoff may be obtainable in a few days, or it make take several weeks. In a conventional transaction, this function is typically handled by escrow. But a good private money lender knows that last minute problems often arise because of inaccuracies in these documents and the PML will often have their office obtain these documents on your behalf to make sure they are accurate. Private money loans are very loan-to-value sensitive and an unexpectedly high payoff can derail the loan at the last moment. Advising you on the loan - Loans available to you will depend upon the PML, their specialty, and their investors available to fund the loan. Don't expect a formal list and brochure of the loan programs like you would see at a bank. Everything is negotiable and the benefit of a PML is that the loan can be customized to meet the needs of the borrower and the investor. The key is to find the happy medium between the amount of profit required by the PML and the investor (realized through fees, interest rate, loan term, etc) to get the deal done. Providing disclosures - Federal and state disclosures differ depending on the type loan. These disclosures provide you with key information about the loan you've applied for and are designed to inform and protect the borrower. A first mortgage loan on a residential property requires different disclosures than a commercial loan against a warehouse. The PML provides the necessary forms within the required time frames and reviews them with you. Ordering and reviewing a property valuation Property values will make or break a private money deal because the investor relies heavily on the collateral as security for the loan. Value can be determined many different ways, and the PML will know what method their investor(s) prefers. Many private investors prefer to visit the property themselves to determine value. The PML will almost always want an appraisal report performed by a licensed appraiser in addition to any other method preferred by the investor. A few investors will also use a Broker Price Opinion (BPO) to determine value or supplement other valuations. This report is
provided by a licensed real estate broker, is substantially less detailed than an appraisal, and gives the investor a sense of what the property would list for in the current market environment. Automated Valuation Model (AVM) is reports that rely upon public records and special modeling software to arrive at a value. Whatever the method, or combination of methods required by an investor, your PML will order the reports, and coordinate access to the property. Coordinating title and escrow - At the same time a PML orders a title report for the purposes of title insurance, escrow services are also engaged. In some states the same company will provide both the escrow and title services. In others, a separate company or possibly an attorney will oversee the process. The escrow services company will obtain any payoffs needed on the subject property, handle the disbursement of funds, conduct the loan closing, and record all applicable deeds and documents with the county. The PML also coordinates the transfer of the loan funds from the investor to the escrow company handling your transaction. Underwriting and loan approval - In many cases the PML underwrites and approves your file based on the criteria requirements of the selected investor. Prudent review and documentation is required to justify a loan approval. The PMLs professional reputation and potential future business with investors will be impacted by the performance of your loan. Some investors may want to personally review the file or have their own designated underwriters review the loan package. Providing the loan funds - The PML establishes relationships with investors or pools of investors that provide the money you need. You are matched with an investor willing to provide funds based on your loan package and the PML arranges for those funds to arrive at the escrow company so settlement can be finalized. In some cases PMLs will use their own money to fund a loan and keep the loan for their own account, keep the loan in a mortgage pool they may operate, or they may sell the loan to another investor. Determining the loan servicer - The loan servicer is the entity or individual that collects your monthly payment, provide periodic loan statements, year-end tax documents, and manage your escrow account for taxes and insurance if that was part of your loan agreement. The PML will typically also service your loan. Servicing
loans is how most PMLs earn their living, and cover their office overhead. Servicing a loan also gives the PML the ability to communicate more quickly with their investor about the status of a loan. If the PML is not the servicer, the PML will transfer the loan documents to the designated servicer and make sure that you know where your first payment is made. Final documents and closing - All of the required final deeds/mortgages and loan documents must be prepared by the PML, an attorney, or by a designated document preparation company. The actual closing and signing of loan documents process varies by state. Sometimes the PML will have a notary on staff and will supervise the signing of the loan documents, and in other states, an attorney, escrow or title company will coordinate the signing. The signing location and supervising entity will also vary based on the type of transaction. In many cases, the PML will be with you to make sure everything is in order and there are no questions about the final documents. Martin Goodman has been in the private money and hard money lending industry for the past 20 years. http://www.PrivateMoneyLendingGuide.com http://www.LoanMLS.com.
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Success Today? Don’t be afraid to change by ralph lovuolo, sr.
ow many, specifically how often, specifically who, specifically when? Specifically Why? Who are they? Detailed. Specifically what are you going to say when you write, call or email them. Any good marketing plan has as a basis the idea that you will do it over and over and over until you die. DIE! If you get lost in the details ask someone who knows how to do this sort of thing to help you. Details. A plan. Got it? Statistics show that forty four percent of all salespeople quit after the 1st call (mailing); twenty two percent after the 2nd; fourteen percent after the 3rd; twelve percent after the 4th; ONLY eight percent persist to the 5th call back. Further statistics show that sixty percent of All Buyers’ Say No five times before they buy. So it is imperative that I become part of the eight percent that persevere. Most salespeople fail because they give up too soon. I’m betting that this is falling on deaf ears. I’m betting that you don’t really want to change. Want to bet me? I’m betting that tomorrow will be the same as today. 28
Make me wrong, go ahead. So what about you? What about your tomorrow? What are you destined to do? What will you do to take a step in the direction of your dreams, or will you just dream, but not really dream, just fanaticize? Just make believe. Your dreams can only be realized if you take some steps in a different direction that you’ve been walking. Well, maybe you’ve been crawling. You need to get organized, establish a set of goals, put together a plan, and then actually work on the plan, creatively as if you mean it; as if you were putting together a group to go out this coming Friday. Meet you at the club about eight? Great who’s coming? Does anyone need a ride? And right here is the first solid step for you. What are your goals? How much business do you want to do in the next twelve months? How much money do you want to make in the next twelve months. And what are you going to do with the money. What the heck are you working for? What dreams can you actually make happen if you had the money? Write down on one piece of paper exactly what I’m about to tell you to do and do it just like I’m going to tell you, and if you put it off, you really don’t want to change. Do it NOW!
Make a list of the next twelve months, one under the other; next to each month, write how many loan applications you will take that month; next to that write down how many closings you will have. Next to that make an average of how much you make per deal and multiply it by the number of closings you will have, total the final column and see if it adds up to the amount of money you say you want to make. If the numbers don’t add up, you need to adjust the number of loans you will write or the number of closings or the amount of commission you will earn. I hope you have noticed that I have not once written any of the following words, anywhere; expect to, hope to, want to, might, maybe. The goals you write down must be real they must be attainable, they must be a bit beyond reasonable. But more than anything they must be written down. Next you need to come up with a minimum of FOUR different marketing initiatives that will get you the number of loan applications you will write, close, and get paid on! Here are some samples: 1- Apartment complex marketing. 2- Data base marketing. Call every person in your database every quarter. 3- Realtor partnering. 4- Affinity marketing. 5- A weekly email to every person you know. 6- Calling on bank and credit
mortgage officers to ask them to give you the loans they can’t do. 7- Develop relationships with builders. 8- Develop relationships with financial planners, CPA’s, insurance brokers. 9- Teaching at real estate schools. Ok, I’m about done. What you need to do now is actually write out a detailed plan of how you are going to actually put into play the minimum of four marketing initiatives that you’ve chosen. A detailed plan. Got it? Detailed. I read all the wonderful things that most of my peers write. I see all the websites with all the information that is available to help you all make a life for yourself filled with riches beyond belief. So why don’t you have those riches, why oh why are you so desperate every day to figure out where your next deal is coming from? I’ll tell you again. You won’t change. You won’t take control. You just want to roll with what’s going on in your life because change and taking control is too hard. Well I guarantee you this, if you don’t take control, don’t set up a plan and don’t take your life by the horns, you’re going to continue to be miserable. If I could be in front of most of you right now, I’d grab you by the shoulders and shake you silly. You know why. Cause your success is right in front of you, right
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there for the taking, as available to every one of you as it is to the one’s who have already achieved success. So about 40 years ago, I was working as a new Loan officer. I worked in an urban setting where sales prices were about $15,000 per unit. If I did a deal over $25,000, it was a home run. There was this guy, a real estate salesman who worked in an office that I called on. He was most unremarkable, in appearance, dress, brainpower, and sociability. But one day, when I went to visit the real estate office that he worked at he told me he was going to open his own office, be his own boss. Little did I know what had gone on behind the scenes. He had been studying. He had decided to change; he had decided to make something of himself and he knew that he had to change the way he acted in order to be able to achieve the dreams he had. He asked me to visit with him the new office he was about to open, and I did so gladly, hoping that any help I would give would eventually be rewarded by him giving me his prospective buyers. I found out on that visit that he had been studying how to set up an office; he had spent time studying how to be a manager by studying management books. He was ready to change. He was positioned to be the man he wanted to be. And he eventually did it. We did, for a few years, at least until I moved out of the area, a lot of business together. I was thrilled at his success. He made a plan, took his life in his hands, decided not to palaver with the guy in the next cubicle anymore and become a success. Why do I tell you this? Because you can be that person, you can change the way you do things every day, but why don’t you? Why don’t you just decide to be what you want to be? What is stopping you? What the hell are you afraid of? Success? Is that what you’re afraid of? Is that why you won’t take control of your life? I don’t buy that for a minute. Here is what I do believe - You are doing what you do because you like it. You’re comfortable, you feel that if you take yourself out of your comfort zone, you might not be able to get to where you want to be. You’re afraid, because someone in your life told you that you should not rock the boat, not try too hard, not put yourself out. Well thank God for those that don’t listen to that crap. Tomorrow - What are you going to do tomorrow? When you get up to go to work tomorrow, what are you going to feel like. While you’re driving to work tomorrow what will you be thinking about and what emotions are you going to be feeling? Here’s what I’m willing to bet you. Most of you, the greater majority 30
to be exact, well maybe even more than that, will feel a combination of a sense of panic, worry, wonder, envy, fear and caring. Why all these negative emotions? Why would people in the greatest business in the world, one that allows us to help our fellow man live a better life and make money while doing that, why in the world would we not be feeling good? Well, I’ll tell you what I believe. I believe it because I observe you and have observed you for over 45 years. You have no sense of your goals, your plans and what to do with yourself every day of your life. You really, for the most part, don’t set yourself up to win, you allow yourself to fail, or at least be mediocre. At best, It has been my immense pleasure to spend my life in one business, one dream, and one sense of who I am. This has been my profession. I have often told the story that when I went to my 20th class High school reunion, where about 45 of my fellow graduates were in attendance, having come from a very small private school, I felt just as professional as the men who were doctors, lawyers, college Professors, priests and Car salesmen. I was and am a professional in the mortgage business. I have worked every day of my life to improve my knowledge in this wonderful industry, and what am I surrounded by, turkeys, turkeys who wander into work every day, check their emails, voice mails, look over the days rate sheets, palaver with the person in the cubicle next to them about the next football game or where they’re going to go on Friday if they have the money. Don’t you want to be a professional? Don’t you want to eliminate from your life the quiet desperation that the philosophers say most of us live with every day? Don’t you want to be in control of your life, your income, your future, your family, your existence? You can now. But all of those things can only be yours if you change and do it quickly. Ralph LoVuolo, Sr. President, Mortgage Motivator. LoVuolo Sr. is president of Mortgage Motivator, a consulting firm on the cutting edge of the mortgage business. Armed with over 45 years of experience in the mortgage industry, he can help your people achieve their true potential. LoVuolo Sr is one of the founding fathers of the New York Association of Mortgage Brokers and a two term president. Additionally, he served as Parliamentarian for six years on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. LoVuolo, Sr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit him at http://www.mortgagemotivator.com
A Rebranded NAMB by Frank Garay and Brian Stevens
few years ago I had a chance conversation with Don Frommeyer; he's a mortgage guy from the state of Indiana. In spite of the fact that he's an ardent Colt's fan, he's a pretty good guy. During that conversation we spoke about the long and short term viability of NAMB (The National Association of Mortgage Brokers). At that point, you could imagine, things were definitely NOT conspiring in NAMB's favor. Broker's had been reduced to a withering remnant of their former “self,” and it appeared that the entire country had decided to offer up the mantle of perfect evil villain to the mortgage broker. As a result, their numbers suffered and their association, NAMB's numbers suffered similarly. During my conversation with Don, I tried to impress upon him that NAMB needed to be a strong sales group along with a strong advocacy and education group. The truth of the matter is NAMB is an association of Sales People. Roughed up and beaten
down sales people but nevertheless sales people. As such, NAMB needed to, as an association, be a sales group. Further, NAMB needed to be exceptional at sales if they were going to “sell” their message to their possible constituents. That of course is loan officers and mortgage originators. Personally, I think during the height of our melt down, NAMB failed in their messaging. They failed because they failed to understand part of their national audience. Of course they needed to advocate in Washington on behalf of loan officers. Of course, they had to offer education and share in our collective struggles. Problem is, when things fell apart they didn't do this. As a reaction to NAMB's failure, their numbers suffered and the entire real estate community lost an important voice. Guys, if you're gonna sell to sales people, you need to be a super sales person. You need to be a Yoda, Jedi Knight sales person. That wasn't TheNicheReport.com
happening. The good part of this story is Don saw that. Don realized NAMB needed change to continue to be viable. Of course their message in the past has been great but their ability to deliver that message to Washington was suffering due to NAMB's faltering membership and lack of funds. The good part of this story continues; NAMB has, over the past year, gotten their finances in order. NAMB has streamlined their association and most importantly (in my mind) now has Don Frommeyer as its president. Now I play an industry expert on TV (actually the net), but in truth, I'm a marketing guy. To be clear, I don't have a role with NAMB and their advocacy is only shared in our collective desire to make things better. I am not being paid by NAMB, nor would I accept a dollar if it were offered. I do not want to run NAMB, be on the board or ANYTHING ELSE. Period. With that said, I want to see them succeed. I want their success because I believe itâ€™s good for the industry, and I believe itâ€™s good for our country. I think I'm pretty good at marketing and I think that chance conversation with the new president, Don Frommeyer, can allow us to help NAMB with their
messaging, advocacy, and delivery. That's where we come in, and that's how I think we can help a viable and important association for the entire industry. So, Don along with his supporting cast has agreed to work with us. They have given TBWS the chance to help them with their marketing. I think it's good for them because we can reach their audience. I think it's good for us because we believe the right team is in place. In the future, look for a new flavor from NAMB. Let's see if we can find a way for Loan Officers, from across the country, to join NAMB, join the struggle, and help make things better not only for ourselves but for our clients. NAMB will help that endeavor take place. Thinkbigworksmall.com (TBWS) was founded in 2007 by a group of highly successful real estate and mortgage industry entrepreneurs. Born in the most battered market in the real estate and mortgage industrys history, Thinkbigworksmall.com was conceived after decades of observing how the most successful professionals always seem to work smarter not harder. Frank & Brian can be reached at email@example.com
keeping up with the jones
Are You Committing Brand Suicide? by Chris Jones
ast month’s diatribe was about how you are your brand. This time it’s about how your brand sucks. Because it probably does. I have evidence. It’s gonna take three months to present, so get comfortable. At the end, though, you might just have taken a step toward beating back the soul-crushing sameness of today’s mortgage branding. Very likely you’ve condemned McDonald’s for their bland, tasteless food and cookie-cutter stores. But at least McDonald’s doesn’t run the exact same ad for ten straight years, like you are almost certainly doing. I’m going to present evidence that you’re doing nothing whatever to make yourself any different from anyone else. Will I get a conviction? Because if I do, you’re committing brand suicide. You’re doing nothing whatever to distinguish yourself from the thousands (admittedly, there aren’t near as many as there were a while ago) of other people that do
what you do. Your brand should be so robust that even if there were six branch offices of your own company on the same street, you’d still score more than your share of business. Do you think you would? Good news. You can do better, and it’s really not hard. You might even enjoy it. Here’s my first exhibit: If I call your voicemail, this is what I will get: “ Hi, you’ve reached Jane Doe. I’m not available right now. Please leave your name, your number, and a brief message, and I’ll call you back as soon as I can. Have a great day.” <beep> Right? Isn’t that basically it? Oh, you might have some additional things in there, like telling me how important my call is to you, or telling me to leave my information at the sound of the tone (you ought to be ashamed of yourself ), or you might have “funtabulous” instead of “great” as the kind of day you order me to have. But really, those are not differences. Paint a Ford Pinto neon red and it’s still a Pinto. So, first makeover of the year, let’s deal with that ridiculous voice mail message. It’s not just identical TheNicheReport.com
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keeping up with the jones to a squillion others, it is filled with lies. They have not reached you. If they had, they wouldn’t be talking to your voice mail. It is true that you’re not available right now, but it’s most likely because you won’t make yourself available, lest you fail to pass the current level of Angry Birds. Then you give them instructions, as if they hadn’t listened to 13,788 of these identical messages in the last couple days. Really? You want to do business with someone that doesn’t know how voice mail works? And then the boldest lie of all, where you tell them you’ll call them back as soon as you can. Suuuuure you will. You could be dead, and how would I know from this message? That’s the impression you want people to get? That’s how much you care about them? Try this instead, just for kicks: “Hey there. You haven’t reached Jane, because she’s doing something she considers more important right now. If you leave a message here, she’ll call you when she wants to.” <beep> This at least has the virtue of being TRUE all the way through. And I know clients – I HAVE clients – that would do business with me on the strength of that honesty alone. If I’m going to be that honest on my voice mail, what are the odds I’m going to lie about the Good Faith Estimate? Not good. That’s branding. Okay, your brand isn’t that snarky. How about this instead: “Hey, it’s Jane. It’s Monday, and I’m out until about 1. I’ll call you back after that, or you can call the office line at <pause, and then read slowly> 555-5555555 <pause> and ask for Jill. Meantime, I’m textable at this number. I’ll talk with you soon.” <beep> Unprofessional? No it isn’t. What’s unprofessional is giving people eight different false impressions in a fifteensecond message. But unorthodox? Yes, it is. Orthodoxy is fine, if what the orthodox loan officer gets from his marketing is what you want to get. Trust me, if you don’t have enough first-hand evidence your own self, that’s NOT what you want. That second message is pretty close to mine, and I’ve been using it, in wild variations, for seven years, ever since Joe Stumpf at By Referral Only taught me how (my method is different, but it works for me). My voice message changes every single day. EVERY day. You call me on Thursday, you know if I’m dead, because my voicemail will still say “Wednesday” on it. It tells you what I’m doing, and when I can call back, and gives you three other ways to get a live human immediately. It’s not
keeping up with the jones much longer than the generic, but it’s a whale of a lot more informative, and it sets me apart. It defuses client frustration and helps keep the loan flow going. People know they won’t get ignored. And it’s TRUE. That’s good branding. There’s more. Voice mail is probably the leastutilized tool in the modern communications world. Did you know that you can leave messages on those things? No, I mean real messages, not “hey, this is Joe. Call me back,” which is almost as bad as the generic inbox message above. Unless you just called to chat, which is possible, but rare in a workday, you’re calling to communicate something. So communicate it. Leave the loan status right there on the message. Advance the conversation with the message itself. Think of it as an audio text message, if that helps. Ask the questions you have to ask, deliver the information you have to deliver, and move things along. That’s different, too. That will set you apart. It also gives the client or business partner the license to do the same back, which means that while you’re on the phone with client A, client B can be giving you what
you need to clear his last condition and get his loan to close. Doing two things at once! Since the phone is the single most-common piece of equipment a businessman has, and since that tool is going to be a regular part of what you do, if you use the natural gifts of the instrument it will set you apart and give you a better chance of scoring the business you’re seeking. Next time, we’re going to look at your business card. No cheating. Chris Jones, branch manager with City First Mortgage Services, is a nine-year industry professional in brokering and banking, with a background in financial services, national politics and Main Street entrepreneurialism. He is the author of the forthcoming book The Six Channels of Marketing, available in January. Chris lives in Lehi, Utah, with his wife, Jeanette, and their eight children, and can be found at www.lehimortgages.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or (801) 8503781.
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Tip of the Month
Tip of the month The Ubiquitous Business Card by stewart mednick
had taken a brief ‘vacation’ from my column over the last few months, and I am glad to reappear in this fine publication. Sorry to those who agonized over my leave of absence and could not get their fix of the Tip of the Month, but here I am. Over four years ago, I had my first Tip of the Month published in The Niche Report. This is that tip: The Ubiquitous Business Card. I am sure that the majority of you reading this column today, did not read the column, nor have knowledge of this magazine in 2007. Well, anything worth saying (or writing) is worth repeating…. Marketing is the foundation for business development. We market through networking, advertising, presentations, and word of mouth. In each of these examples, a business card is dispersed. Early on in anyone’s career in sales or service, the golden rule of “carry business cards with you all the time” is indelibly etched in one’s mind. After all, a business card is who we are and how people are able to contact us. With all this exposure, we should be busier than a ketchup bottle at a picnic, right?
So how come we have trouble mustering up business or retaining repeat business? I believe the business card is far too under utilized. Let me examine various possibilities on how to better utilize what I call “The Ubiquitous Business Card.” Ubiquitous is defined as being or seeming to be everywhere at the same time. Isn’t that how you would like to have your name spread? I want to define the parameters of business card marketing and why it is important. Let me use two extremes of marketing to define the exposure you may have with a business card. If no one in your area (area defined as a 20 mile radius from your office) has your business card, then no one has your contact information and therefore, you will have a very quiet office; no visits, no phone calls, no applications to process, and no closings. If everyone in your area had your business card, then you would be busier beyond belief; the proverbial ketchup bottle. One percent of 500,00 people is still 5,000 people. If 500,000 people had your business card and one percent called you, would you be happy? I just established a simple analogy that seems to be too difficult to fulfill. The reason: not enough business cards are being dispersed on a daily basis. I believe that in our
Tip of the Month regular daily routine, we forego approximately 25 marketing opportunities to pass out a business card. In a work week, that is 125 business cards handed out. In a month that is 550, and in a year, that is 6,500. If you stay in the business for ten years, you can theoretically pass out 65,000 business cards just through your daily routine and not spending an extra cent on marketing or mailing. How? First, make a list of all the events in your day and the places you go for these events. For example: 1) drive to the gas station to pump gas. 2) stop at the coffee shop for a latte. 3) drive through a fast-food stand for breakfast. 4) stop in a drug store for a prescription or to have film developed. 5) go to a grocery store to food shop. 6) shop at department or discount store. 7) drop off or pick-up the kids from daycare. 8) have lunch with a business associate or friend at a restaurant. 9) stop at a pub or bar for happy hour and to meet friends for a drink…etc. In all these examples, would it be accurate to say that even though we carry business cards with us, seldom would one be passed out? This is where the value of the business card can far exceed its cost. A box of 1,000 business cards may cost $60 -- $80. That is 6 to 8 cents apiece. A mailing of 1,000 pieces will cost $410 in postage alone, and another 10 cents each for the printing totaling $510. In the end, an application is the end result regardless of the cost to obtain it. The business card is established as being a cost effective way to market. It is also a more effective lead generator because YOU hand it to a person directly, or is handed to a person from a succession of people originating back to you. Compare this method to a cold piece or mail being received with ten or twenty other envelops or post cards daily…it will get lost in the volume of mail and is very impersonal. Here is the method. Have fifty cards accessible in your car. I keep a box of cards on the front passenger seat. I can grab one or a few as I need them, and will never again need to grab some from the office, which I often forget to do and wind up at a networking event without cards. Every time you come in contact with a person, hand them your card. Do not go out of your way to hand them out nor approach people for the sole purpose of handing out cards. In your everyday life, be conscience of when to do so. An example: stopping for gas. DO NOT pay at the pump! Pay inside. Pump the gas, then walk to the attendant and hand them your credit card or your money with a business card on top. This will act in two ways. First, they will be mildly shocked and now you are a memorable person because you gave them a reason to remember you above the two hundred
other customers they serve daily. Second, it will be a conversation starter. They will inquire what it is for. Simply reply, “ I come here regularly and thought that it is rude for me to not introduce myself. I am Stewart, and you are (look at their name tag and state their name), nice to meet you. I happen to be in the mortgage business, so if you or anyone you know may have any questions I am willing to answer them, just give me a call…” The next time you go to that same station for gas, do the same thing. A different attendant may be there, so repeat the same spiel. If the original attendant is there, act as if he is a best friend but still hand a business card to him again with payment. The card may be thrown away, but losing 6 cents instead of 51 cents for a mailer is economically more sound in my book. However, they may keep it on the register, tape it to the wall, put it in their pocket, wallet or even hand it to another person who may need your services. Repeat this routine every time you buy lunch, even if you drive through, hand your card with payment. Repeat the routine when you purchase a coffee, buy a newspaper, have lunch and pay the waitress, or any other time you come in contact with anyone in the course of a regular day. Shopping in a grocery store, you should be able to pass out five to ten cards just from meeting people in the isles and starting a conversation with them about the high price of spaghettiO’s or whatever. I have a method to learn how to schmooze effectively, called the “Two Minute Mingle” sm … but that is a tip for another month. Stewart Mednick is a seasoned mortgage banker and published author. His writing focuses on relationship development, personal empowerment, customer satisfaction, marketing and sales techniques. Stewart is available for marketing consulting, personal coaching and training sessions. If you have a comment or a question for Stewart, contact him at 651-895-5122 or email@example.com
WHAT IS YOUR MORTGAGE IQ?
What's your mortgage IQ? BY karen deis
Had a few minutes to look back on the number of mortgage rule and regulation updates this year and counted 231 articles—which is an average of 21 per month. Oh, and these are the ones that ONLY affect loan originators! Looks like we are on track to hit 250 updates by the end of the year! Do you have a way to keep track of all of them? FHA Dropping Mortgage Insurance: I’m confused--will MIP drop off at 78% and 5 years, or is it on the loan for the life of the loan on a 30-year term? Cancellation of the FHA monthly mortgage insurance premium (MIP) is based on several factors including the loan term, loan-to-value (LTV) and regulations in place when the loan is closed. For loans closed January 1, 2001 or later, MIP will be automatically cancelled when the LTV reaches 78% under the following terms. Loan Terms Longer Than 15 Years • To be eligible for automatic cancellation the 38
monthly MIP must have been paid for a minimum of five years. Loan Terms 15 Years or Less • There is no minimum time period for which the MIP must have been paid (five-year requirement does not apply). • If the LTV is 78.00% or less at loan closing it is exempt from MIP NOTES • MIP cancellation does not apply to loans that are not insured by the Mutual Mortgage Insurance (MMI) fund. Generally, loans closed prior to January 1, 2001 will not be eligible for cancellation of MIP, which is collected as part of the monthly mortgage payment. • Cancellation of the annual MIP is normally based on the scheduled amortization of the loan. However, in cases where the loan payments have been accelerated or modified, cancellation can
WHAT IS YOUR MORTGAGE IQ? be based on the actual amortization of the loan as provided to FHA by the servicing lender. • Mortgage insurance may also be terminated via payment in full, conveyance for insurance benefits, or voluntary termination upon agreement between the borrower and lender. • Although the MIP is cancelled, the contract of mortgage insurance remains in force. Marketing Tip: Keep this info handy. Buyers ask about it all the time. It’s also great info to email to your real estate agents. Makes a great Facebook post too. FHA Cash On Hand- Does FHA have any exceptions for verify “cash on hand” for people who don’t use banks? Per FHA, cash on hand CAN be acceptable (see below), but it's typically only allowed for borrowers who don't normally use bank accounts. Cash is a problem because it brings up the issue of potential new (and undisclosed) debt that was created in order to acquire the funds. But according to the guideline below (5.B.2.b) you only have to source the deposits that are necessary to close the loan. It would also made sense that you would want to get an
explanation from the borrower on the source of funds and a declaration that no new debt was incurred. 4155.1 5.B.2.d Verifying Cash Saved at Home To verify cash saved at home, the borrower must explain in writing • how the funds were accumulated, and • the amount of time it took to accumulate the funds. The lender must determine the reasonableness of the accumulation, based on • the time period during which the funds were saved, and • the borrower's o income stream o spending habits o documented expenses, and o history of using financial institutions. Note: Borrowers with checking and/or savings accounts are less likely to save money at home than individuals with no history of such accounts. 4155.1 5.B.2.b Savings and Checking Accounts A Verification of Deposit, along with the most recent bank statement, may be used to verify savings and checking
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WHAT IS YOUR MORTGAGE IQ? accounts. If there is a large increase in an account, or the account was recently opened, the lender must obtain from the borrower a credible explanation and documentation of the source of the funds. TOTAL Scorecard Accept/Approve or Refer Recommendation If the loan receives an Accept/Approve or Refer recommendation from the Technology Open To Approved Lenders (TOTAL) Scorecard, the lender must • obtain an explanation and documentation for recent large deposits in excess of 2% of the property sales price, and • verify that any recent debts were not incurred to obtain part, or all, of the required cash investment on the property being purchased. The key here is that these guidelines are all for "acceptable sources of borrowers funds to close." If the funds aren't acceptable, you back them out, with a full explanation that no new debt was incurred, and you can't use them as assets, period, when running through DU. VA Gift Funds: My underwriter is telling me VA does not allow for gift funds. Is this true? VA allows gift funds. They just don't have a policy on it. In fact, gifts aren't mentioned at all in the asset section of the manual. An underwriter would need to document the file logically to determine source of funds and ascertain that the funds aren't borrowed. Compliance: Reg Z & RESPA rules: A real estate agency wants to send out an e-mail blast to customers mentioning "rates as low as 3%” and also mention our mortgage company. What rules apply? First, there are Reg Z Rules that apply, including the
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disclosure of the APR and loan terms. Read the Mortgage Talking Points called Advertising Rules (Reg Z) for Real Estate Agents & Builders. They’ve been in effect since 2009 and readers of this article can download it free www. MortgageCurrentcy.com (Mortgage Talking Points Tab) Then, the new rule that you need to be concerned about is the Mortgage Acts Practices Rule, which is “supplement” to Reg Z, and went into effect in August 2011. This law goes on to say that if you advertise mortgage terms (yes even saying 3% down counts) it had better be available—or else. Finally RESPA, Section 8 kicks in—where both the lender and the real estate company have to pay their “fair share” of any costs. So if they are using an email service, typically they would split the cost 50/50. Fannie Second Home: My clients lives in Georgia and wants to purchase a home in New Jersey. He works six months In one state, and six months in the other. Could it be considered a second home? Occupancy can be treacherous. Second Home definition is especially tough -- Fannie and Freddie are all over this type of occupancy and forcing repurchases. The scenario does seem to meet the standards -- there are several questions/ standards that must be met -Is the property a reasonable distance away from principal residence? Is the property occupied by the borrower for some portion of the year? Is the property a one-unit dwelling? Is the property suitable for year-round occupancy? Does the borrower have exclusive control of the property? Is there a Rental Property or Timeshare agreement? Is it subject to any agreements with a management firm for control over the occupancy? Answers to the last two questions must be no and the others must be yes. Even with all of this being acceptable, your underwriter may find the transaction doesn't fit the definition of a second home. Written and contributed by Karen Deis of Mortgagecurrentcy.com. Provided monthly by www. mortgagecurrentcy.com- interpreting the Rules and Regulation Changes for loan officers, processors, underwriters, and owners/managers. Mortgage Talking Points TM, charts and checklists included.
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BRINGING UP THE REAR - continued from page 50
oh, I don't know... what's the word I'm looking for... oh yeah, I've got it... well, ambivalence fits. Or, I suppose I could use... JOY! It's weird too, because after the Savings & Loan crisis of the early 1990s, there were 800+ financial executives that went to jail. This crisis is global. If the S&L crisis was a backyard swimming pool, then the current crisis is the Pacific Ocean... but it's apparently no one's fault? The triple A-rated bonds weren't even close to triple A, and investors including Fannie Mae are suing all over the place, but I suppose the whole thing was just an accident? Ooopsie! Goldman Sachs settled their Abacus suit for something like $550 million. Of course, without admitting any guilt for doing anything wrong, but is it even possible that anyone would ever pay out more than half a billion dollars after doing nothing wrong? Basically, the fraudclosure crisis has created millions of crime scenes in this country. Literally, millions of crime scenes from coast to coast. Jeff Thigpen, who is the Register of Deeds in Guilford County, North Carolina, has recently gone through the recorded documents in his office and so far found roughly 5,000 filed documents that are fraudulent or forgeries. His counterpart in Massachusetts, John O'Brian, has had a similar outcome from an audit of his office. If you or I did that a couple of times, we'd be in jail. If we did it thousands of times, we'd never get out. Bankers, however, get to call the practice, "robo-signing," which sounds nothing like fraud or forgery. I guarantee you that if you went to prison for that, and someone asked you why you were there, there's no way you're going to answer: â€œRobosigning." No way... you'll get your butt kicked for sure. You're going to say: "Me? Oh, I'm here on fraud and forgery charges." Now, I have to believe that Eric Holder is reading the lawsuits that have been filed by various attorneys general, and if you haven't yet read one, then you should. I realize that they're just allegations at this point, but they read like something out of a John Grisham novel. Is Holder just thinking that maybe the whole thing will just blow over and go away? And we're only at the beginning of this crisis... yes, the beginning. Sure as shootin', we're still going to be talking about the crimes bankers committed that caused our country's downfall a decade from now. Just consider the residential real estate market five years from now. For prices to rise, demand would have to rise... right? You need demand to make prices rise. So, forget about the fact that there's no securitization market, so the only lender is the federal government... from where would the demand come? Roughly half the mortgages today are underwater, so we can assume those people aren't buyers because if you can't sell, you can't buy. Then there's quite a few who won't be able to come up with twenty percent down or satisfy the 700+ credit score
requirement. College grads coming out of school with tens of thousands in student loans will delay the formation of families and certainly reduce the number of first time buyers. Aging baby boomers will just naturally move less. And then there are those that will find it hard to buy as prices are still falling. Now, I suppose there will be some investors buying, and some population growth and immigrant buyers, but no matter how you slice it, the size of the future pool of buyers is going to be a whole heck of a lot smaller than in the past, and that means... prices in the aggregate cannot rise. Unless, I suppose, we're expecting aliens to land here carrying suitcases filled with dollars and in search of residential real estate. Or, maybe we'll start advertising in other countries that if you're a doctor or lawyer and you move here, we'll send your kids to college for free... that might help, although I don't think it'll solve the problem in total. So, if you haven't realized it yet, this crisis is going to be dinner conversation for a long, long time. The biggest difference between this one and the Great Depression is that during the 1930s people robbed banks and this time around, banks rob people. Two additional differences come to mind... this one isn't being filmed in black & white, and instead of soup lines, we've got food stamps. It's also interesting that in every country that has had a meltdown thus far, they fired their bank CEOs, replacing them with... oh, I don't know... More honest people, one would hope. But, here in the good ole' USA, we haven't changed a thing. So, what's up with Attorney General Holder? Is he simply lifeless? Is he afraid to file charges against anyone worth more than ten million? Is he corrupt? Is his best friend a banking industry lobbyist? Come on... what's the deal here? We're all at least starting to see what's happened, aren't we? I mean, I know we can't expect our regulatory agencies to do anything... after all, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates the national banks, refers to those it regulates as "clients." The Office of Thrift Supervision hasn't referred a single case of fraud to the Justice Department since... well, since forever. And the SEC... well, fuggetaboutit. Bernie Madoff stole $60 billion and then turned himself in, remember? We don't even have regulators. So, since it all comes down to our intrepid Attorney General, Eric Holder, we're doing nothing about the crimes of the century. The GOP refers to him as Mr. Fast and Furious. Me? I just call him this month's giant rear end. Martin Andelman is a staff writer for The Niche Report. He also writes an almost daily column on ML-Implode called Mandelman Matters. He also publishes a Monthly Museletter and you can follow â€œMandelmanâ€? on Twitter. Send your responses to Martin@TheNicheReport.com. TheNicheReport.com
BRINGING UP THE REAR
Bringing Up the rear U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder BY MARTIN ANDELMAN
epublicans have spent the last three years attacking U.S Attorney General Eric Holder about issues related to national security and civil rights. Lately, it's a screwed up gun-trafficking investigation known as "Operation Fast and Furious." Many in the GOP are now saying he should resign. This past week, something like 75 members of Congress co-sponsored a House resolution that said there was “no confidence” in Holder as AG, and according to the New York Times, no member of the Obama Administration has drawn more partisan criticism than Holder. The Fast and Furious controversy involves agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who were investigating an arms-trafficking network working for a Mexican drug cartel. Apparently, these agents didn't move quickly to seize the guns of some low-level suspects. They say they were trying to build a larger case. They misplaced a few hundred weapons and next thing you know, two guns linked to a suspect in the case were found near a Border Patrol agent that had been killed. When Holder was asked about how this happened, he basically replied by saying, "Huh?" Now, I don't know whether Holder should resign over "Operation Fast and Furious," but if he did it, it would be irony at its best, because if there are two words that don't come to mind when I think of Eric Holder they're "fast" and "furious." Insiders say that Holder has a "low-key demeanor." Apparently, he allows lawmakers to talk over him during hearings. Other colleagues say he can be similarly mild in internal administration debates, which causes them to wonder
if he's capable of being tough enough for take-no-prisoners bureaucratic or political fights. And Dick Thornburgh, who was AG under the first President George Bush, has said he's concerned that Holder gets steamrolled by adversaries. The New York Times recently quoted Thornburgh as saying: “I have worried from time to time about Eric’s being seemingly rolled by the administration and his political opponents." Well, I don't know about you, but for me... that explains a lot. You see, I've been sitting at my desk reading and writing about the financial and foreclosure crises for the last three years, and while I do understand why everyone didn't see what was going on when our economic meltdown began, today anyone who doesn't see this country as a giant crime scene, just doesn't want to look. Our current financial crisis has more than doubled the unemployment rate in this country. It has destroyed roughly $11 trillion in consumer wealth so far, pretty much decimating the middle class, throwing more people into poverty than ever before, and increasing the number of Americans on food stamps from 11 million in 2005 to closing in on 50 million today. And yet, not only have none of the Wall Street executives been criminally prosecuted or gone to jail, but I question whether any have even gotten a stern talking to. Best I can tell, they all got bonuses and a Federal Reserve credit card with no limit, and close to no interest rate. Quite a few people don't even blame the bankers for the crisis... in their eyes, believe it or not, the bankers were somehow victims. The poor bankers, sniff, sniff. I miss Lehman Bros. and Bear Stearns, don't you? Perfectly good investment banks... and now their gone. I'm overcome with... - continued on page 49
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