Author Archives: Retired Golf Hack

About Retired Golf Hack

I am a retired banker and mortgage lender living at the beach in southern Delaware.

Fall Forward

A View from the Beach

ECONOMIC COMMENTARY
August 29, 2017

 

Though the calendar states that fall comes later in September, Labor Day weekend is actually the real end of summer for most Americans. It means back to school for the kids and the end of vacation season. Congress is back in session after their August recess. Though many think that Congressmen go on vacation during recesses, most are back in their districts meeting with their staffers and gauging the temperature of their constituents.

Fall starts the second homebuying season of the year. Though not as strong as the spring season, the fall is a time that people list their homes and want to be settled in a new home before the holiday season arrives. This fall we are hopeful that more are listing their homes because the market has been constrained by a listing shortage.

Before we go out to enjoy the Labor Day weekend, we will have something of an economic report anomaly. Since the first day of September is on Friday, the employment report will be released early before the holiday weekend starts. Many will be on vacation this week and others will be leaving early for the holiday. Thus, the markets may be prone towards more volatility if there is a surprise in the report. If there is a surprise, it will be like saying — Surprise, we had ___ jobs added. Have a nice holiday weekend to think about it!

 WEEKLY INTEREST RATE OVERVIEW

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Homes, Loans and Milestones: 5 Real Estate Marketing Trends in 2017

FAIRWAY INDEPENDENT MORTGAGE CORPORATION
5 Real Estate Marketing Trends in 2017
(Content pulled from the article “Five Real Estate Marketing Trends Defining 2017” on Inman.com)

Inman recently did a little research on what savvy real estate professionals are doing in 2017 to rise above the market clutter – some of the information isn’t a surprise, while other insights might require a little practice to perfect the process.

5 Real Estate Marketing Trends in 2017

  1. Live Streaming and Video Marketing: This strategy might take a little practice and a few trial runs to get comfortable in front of the camera. But consider hosting a virtual open house, where you are the featured host showing prospective buyers through your listed property. Not ready for live streaming? Consider using Facebook and even Instagram to post a short teaser video highlighting a desirable feature of the home.
  2. Robust Content: Become the subject matter expert of the neighborhoods where your homes are listed… tell folks about the great BYOB farm-to-table cafes, walking trails, dry cleaner and more. The more you can demonstrate that you know your stuff, the more prospective buyers will pay attention.
  3. Target Your Audience – Or Personalization: Think about features of your listings that might appeal to certain demographic audiences – for example: millennials might be more interested in access to public transit, proximity to outdoor activities and energy-efficient features of the home. The more you know about your audience, the more they feel you are talking to them personally.
  4. Digital Showings: More and more listings are featuring virtual tours of the property – 360-degree views of the rooms and outdoor space. It’s a great way for buyers to hone in on their ideal place and then follow up with their real estate professional to do a walk through. At this point, the prospective buyer is more interested and engaged.
  5. Social Media Advertising: Last week we discussed a new marketing tool offered by Facebook… the social media networks are all offering ways to "boost" your post to reach a broader audience for a relatively small investment, and you are able to define your audience by demographic features such as age, zip code, preferences, and lifestyle.

In addition to these suggestions above, the Inman article pointed out the value of drone footage as a way to showcase your listing and stand out from your competition. These days, a little promotion goes a long way – as does working with your referral sources. Teaming together with your mortgage professional can create a great dynamic when building your business.

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6 Tips to Help Credit-challenged Clients Improve Scores
By Steve Cook, Inman.com

How many buyers have you met who walk in your door with a rotten credit rating and confidently promise to fix things up before they apply for a mortgage?

That’s never a good sign, even in times like these when first-time buyers can plan on hunting four months or more to find a property they can afford and would buy.

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What Does Contingent With No Kick-Out Mean? A Clause That Affects Your Offer
By Cathie Ericson, Realtor.com

Should You Invest That Down Payment?
By Jeff Brown, US News

You Could Be Wrecking Your Home — And Not Know It (Yet)
By Amy Howell Hirt, Houselogic

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How email templates can save real estate agents much needed time
By Brandon Doyle, Inman.com

It’s not a surprise that when you hear email templates, you automatically assume it must have to do with bulk emails or mass newsletter emails.

And you’re not wrong, but in this case, it’s more important to think about email templates as one of the easiest ways to personalize your emails to larger groups of people in your network while still saving yourself big chunks of time.

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Could Value Range Pricing Become a Thing?
Daily Real Estate News

Value range pricing, also known as variable range pricing, is when a listing indicates sellers are looking for offers between two suggested prices, such as "$450,000 to $500,000," rather than just one price, such as $475,000. This tactic is still relatively rare, but it’s becoming more popular because it offers advantages to both buyers and sellers, according to realtor.com®.

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Saber Rattling

A View from the Beach

ECONOMIC COMMENTARY
August 22, 2017 –  

Last week we spoke about the Dog Days of Summer when things are expected to be quiet. On the other hand, we also indicated that the world does not take vacation in August and unexpected events can have a greater affect upon the markets when so many are on vacation. And so it is with regard to the North Korean situation. Thankfully, thus far this is not an event, but a heightened course of saber rattling threatening all sorts of things.

Of course, we were all hopeful there would be no event, and that the sabers would quiet down. But we have seen more volatility in the markets as a result of all of the noise. And the events in Europe late last week just added to the consternation. Even so, the drop in stocks has been miniscule as compared to the rally we have witnessed over the past nine months. Even without these events, one would be quite surprised if there are not more mini-corrections in store for the markets because of how far they have moved to the upside.

Another area affected by the noise is interest rates. It is hard to tell whether the recent moderate drop in long-term rates is due to a flight to safety in anticipation of a possible crisis, or a reaction to the news that the economy continues to grow along with reports that are showing inflation continues to be contained. With the markets, we never know why they move, and in this case the easing of long-term rates could be a result of several factors. The move could also be quite temporary. Thus, if you are house or car shopping, you may only have a small window of opportunity.

 WEEKLY INTEREST RATE OVERVIEW

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Selling Your Home? The Bathroom Is One of the Most Important Rooms

It’s been said that “kitchens and bathrooms” sell houses.  So, when you are ready to sell your home, here are some tips on how to “show” your bathroom in all of its glory.

First of all, concentrate on getting it as clean as possible.  There are many products on the market that will easily get rid of mildew. Lighten up the grout between the tiles. Get rid of soap scum.  Make sure mirrors and the shower door glass sparkles.

Second, remove stuff from the counter tops.

Third, hide the plunger and trash cans.

Fourth, remove the rugs.  They make a bathroom look smaller. Make sure the floor is clean.

Fifth, if you have a master bathroom, make it appear as an “oasis.”  Place some candles around the soaking tub. A couple of plush towels.  Maybe a fern or orchid plant.

The whole goal is to make the bathroom inviting and not have a buyer think they are walking into a locker room.

The Dog Days of Summer

A View from the Beach

ECONOMIC COMMENTARY
August 15, 2017 – 

 

August 15 is supposed to be right in the middle of the dog days of August. But we learned recently that the phrase “dog days of August” relates to the period that Sirius, a star known as the “Dog Star,” rises at the same time as the sun. This period is typically in late July until early August. Thus, the phrase is also known more generally as the “dog days of summer.”

What does the dog days of summer mean for the markets? Not only are families taking vacations, so are institutions. The Federal Reserve Board’s Open Market Committee does not meet in August. Congress is in recess and the President is on a long working vacation. Even equity traders and market analysts are on vacation, which typically results in lower trading volume for stocks, bonds and more. Thus, everyone should be taking a long-deserved break during August.

Does that mean that the month will be completely quiet? We can’t really predict a complete time of rest for the markets. Traditionally, during times of lower trading volume, any type of major event could produce more volatility than usual. And, though it seems that everyone in D.C. is on vacation, the world does not go to sleep. Nor does the weather. For our part, we do hope that everyone has a restful remainder of the summer and that the quiet enables those economic sleeping dog days to lie about as well.

A personal note.  I was lucky enough to be the low qualifier and therefore the #1 seed in our Club Championship at Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club to be played this coming weekend.  I was very fortunate to shoot a one over par 73 which included a chip-in eagle on the 18th hole.

 WEEKLY INTEREST RATE OVERVIEW

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Preventing Break-Ins: How to Keep Your Home Safe from Thieves

A View from the Beach

It’s been reported that in the US, a home is robbed every 14.6 seconds.  The average loss is just a little over $2,000.  So, if you have a $1,000 deductible on your homeowner’s insurance policy, only half of your loss would be covered.

Here are some strategies for keeping your home safe from would-be thieves:

Tear up cardboard boxes – There’s no better way for thieves to see that you just bought a new TV, computer, microwave, than by the empty box that is left alongside the trash containers.  Tear/cut them up and bundle them so they are inconspicuous.

Lock doors and windows – It may seem obvious, but most thieves gain access through open doors and windows that someone forgot to lock.

Don’t hide your keys in the obvious places – Thieves look for the “fake rock.”  The ledge above the door.  The door mat.  Consider leaving it with a neighbor, or in a less conspicuous location.

Don’t announce your plans on social network sites – While you may be excited to share your vacation plans (or a trip out of town for a wedding or funeral), don’t announce the dates you will be leaving and returning.  Wait till you return to post your pictures.

Do a little landscaping – Cut back bushes and trees that may hide windows and doors, which may also hide a thief from view.

Replace light bulbs – Another obvious strategy, but a well-lighted house will thwart thefts.

Close drapes/blinds – Giving someone a clear view of what you have inside can be trouble.  Even if you are leaving your home for a short period of time, close the drapes or blinds so thieves can’t see what you own.

Just a little prevention can save you money, as well as the heartache of someone violating your private space.