The Wild Ride

A View from the Beach

February 20, 2018 –


Several weeks ago, we spoke about the negative effects of economic growth. The two factors we cited were higher interest rates and higher oil prices. Now we are starting to see the markets react to this new reality. Many are blaming rising interest rates for causing what we can now call a stock market correction. A correction which we have not seen for some time. Why would higher rates cause stocks to falter? Abnormally low rates have propped up the markets for years. Why keep your money in the bank earning 1.0% interest when you can earn 10% or more in the stock market? That is an over-simplification, but certainly higher rates are taking some of this extra stimulus out of the equation.

Not that rising rates are the only explanation with regard to the trepidation in stocks. As we also explained several weeks ago, the tax plan was great news for stocks because it immediately made companies more profitable by lowering their tax rates significantly. Stocks have been rallying for nine years, comprising the second longest bull market in history, but the rally intensified in anticipation of the tax plan. We surmised that all the good tax news was already built into stocks, but the rally continued anyway — until rates started rising.

The question now is whether this is just a healthy and long-overdue correction which may reverse quickly, or is it the beginning of the end for the bull run? As always, we will stay away from predictions. Rates could ease back down or stabilize — and the market could climb back. Right now, the economy is healthy and rates have not risen far enough to cause the economy to pause. Actually, if the growth eased a bit, this could cause the Federal Reserve Board to be less concerned with inflationary pressures and perhaps permit them to take their foot off the pedal. For now, we have a pretty wild ride going on.


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Unique Ways Real Estate Agents Can Create a “Brand”

A View from the Beach

Branding is the name of the game in this era of social media, email and online marketing – and let’s face it, you have a business to build.

There are so many different ways to brand yourself, but you many want to consider doing something different from what all the other agents are doing.


So, I have a few suggestions for you:

  • Bring donuts, bagels, sandwiches to local police and firefighters on a quarterly basis. Include your business cards and a sign “compliments of….”
  • Hang out at a local coffee shop with a sign on the back of your laptop that says “Ask Me Anything About Real Estate”.
  • Change your phone message on your voice mail every 3 months and try to make it more humorous.
  • Sponsor a cause that matters to you. Make it part of your brand for the entire year, and convey to your clients and on social media why you are passionate about the cause.
  • Join a club or organization. Invite me to join with you. Join a committee with the goal of becoming chairperson of that committee.
  • Connect more offline than online with calls, snail mail newsletters, postcards.
  • Ask for testimonials and post them everywhere (FB, Active Rain, website, your listing booklet).
  • Sponsor a family-friendly movie night. Invite past clients, loan officers, title reps. Provide popcorn and health snacks.
  • Record a 2-minute videos about real estate. Why getting pre-approved is critical when buying a home. Why you need a home inspection. About title insurance. The closing process. Home owners insurance. Certified funds at closing.
  • Instead of celebrating traditional holidays, send out on less recognized days. Valentine’s Day. National Donut Day.
  • Create a list of “fun facts” that most people don’t know about you. You speak fluent Spanish. You are a cancer survivor. You love oysters. This will help you connect with people who can relate to you and make you more “human” in their eyes.

Please let me know if you’d like to meet to talk about some of these strategies – and maybe we can do some joint marketing together.

13 Ways to Get Offers Accepted in a Tight Real Estate Market

A View from the Beach

I know from experience as a mortgage lender that low inventory and multiple offers creates stress, not only for buyers who are pre-approved and whose offers are outbid by others, but for real estate agents too.

So I found a list of tips compiled by real estate agents throughout the US that may help increase your chances of helping your clients get their offer accepted.

  1. Brush up on your negotiating skills.
  2. Be proactive and encourage your buyers not to wait until the weekend to view new listings.
  3. Get a strong pre-approval letter from me, your mortgage loan officer.
  4. Talk to the listing agent to find out what’s important to the seller (i.e., quick closing, extended move out date).
  5. Based on other offers in that particular neighborhood, determine how much over the listing price the buyer should offer.
  6. Minimize contingencies.
  7. Make sure that when presenting the offer, you have all the correct forms, including disclosures and counter-offer forms.
  8. Ask the buyer to write a letter to the seller stating what they like about the home and why they want to buy it.
  9. Include photos of the buyers (and maybe their children) so the seller visually sees them.
  10. Call the listing agent and let them know an offer is on its way.
  11. A large earnest money deposit conveys that the buyer is committed to buying the home.
  12. Ask for a quick response time to show the urgency of making a decision before any other offers arrive.
  13. The less complicated the offer, the more willing the seller will be to accept it.

One last thought. Try to find out as much as you can about the seller and the property. You’ll find a ton of information online just by entering their name and property address.

Oh, and be sure to contact me so I can help you with our 15 Day Closing Guarantee through our 321 Go Program – see below for details.

Are You Truly The Expert In Your Local Real Estate Market?

I recently read an article from a nationally recognized real estate agent where she posed a series of questions to ask yourself to see if you are truly the “expert” in the local real estate market.

Most of the information can be found within your MLS system. She checks it daily and has even listed it as a “task” in her calendar. And while she is at it, she checks expired and withdrawn listings.

So, here are the questions. By knowing the answers, you will be able to laser-focus your marketing.

  1. How many total properties are in your market area?
  2. What’s the average price?
  3. What’s the average days on the market?
  4. What’s the median price?
  5. How many properties were sold last month? Last 6 months? Last 12 months?
  6. How many properties are currently under contract?
  7. How many of those properties were either short sales or foreclosures?
  8. What is the percentage of listed to sold price ratio?
  9. Are values increasing or declining?
  10. Is inventory increasing or declining?
  11. What agent/real estate company has the most listings?
  12. What types of mortgage programs are most prevalent (FHA, VA, USDA, Conventional, Cash)?

This one daily exercise will help keep you up to date. Spot trends. Immediately share with home buyers. And by knowing the answers to these questions, you will become the go-to expert in your corner of the real estate world.

Double Feature

A View from the Beach

January 30, 2018 –


As we have mentioned previously, it has already been a busy year with major storms, wildfires that turned into mudslides, a new tax plan and the in-fighting in Washington seemingly getting worse. And that is just the first month of the year. We end the first month and start the second month with another busy week, at least on the economic front. This week we have the first meeting of the year for the Federal Reserve Board and also the first reading on jobs which contains 2018 data.

Thus far this year it seems that the economy continues to move forward, even without the anticipated effects of the tax plan. Of course, the anticipation itself has fueled much optimism which can be seen in record stock market closes. The performance of the economy is all about optimism. Since the Fed just raised their benchmark rates in mid-December, most analysts are not expecting another increase so soon. However, even if they do not raise short-term rates at this meeting, they will be discussing how much and how quickly they will be raising rates this year.

How much and how fast will depend upon the strength of the economy. And major evidence of this strength will be released a few days after they meet in the form of the January employment report. December’s job gains were a bit under forecast, and thus we will be looking at not only January’s numbers, but revisions to the previous months’ data. A really strong report could move the Fed to raise rates at their next meeting in March. Even if they do not, one thing is certain — unless something happens to derail the economy, their only move is up this year.


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The Downside is the Upside

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January 23, 2018 –


The stock market is setting records. We have a new tax plan which lowers taxes significantly for companies and moderately for individuals. We just had a decent retail holiday season with higher home sales closing out the year. In other words–everything is looking up for the economy. Most economists are cautiously optimistic that the good times will continue through at least 2018.

Unfortunately, with the economy gaining momentum, some of the movements upwards are actually turning out to be downers. More specifically, we are referring to interest rates and oil prices. The price of oil is now over $60 per barrel after oscillating above and below the $50 level for more than a year. Certainly, higher oil prices is the price we have to pay for having a better economy that increases oil demand. However, oil prices could still fall if the news on the supply side becomes more optimistic. There have been plenty of forecasts showing at least the potential of this occurring.

Not so with interest rates. You can’t pump money out of the ground. The better economy has caused the Federal Reserve Board to raise short-term interest rates five times over the past two years. Long-term rates have also been trending upward as the economy has improved. Most are not expecting another increase by the Fed when they meet at the end of this month. But that does not mean that long-term rates won’t keep rising if we get the news that the economy is still rolling. As a matter of fact, the threat of higher interest rates is one reason that real estate is so hot. Most want to purchase before rates go up further. Will rates keep moving up? That depends upon whether the economy stays strong in 2018.


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Mid-January Report

A View from the Beach

January 16, 2018 – 


Believe it or not, we are halfway through the first month of the year. While a few weeks passing may not seem like much, these are very exciting times. Americans are reacting to a new tax plan, stocks have already broken records and we have had the first natural disaster of the year — a bomb-cyclone. A few weeks ago, most of us had never heard of a bomb-cyclone. And even though we did not know, since we are publishing from the east coast, we certainly felt the cold. When it snows in Florida, it is definitely a weather event.

The question is–what have we learned since the beginning of the year? We have learned that the stock market’s surge in anticipation of the adoption of the tax plan is not over now that the plan has come to fruition. There was some concern that all the gains were built into the pricing of stocks, but the New Year has brought more good news in this regard. Of course, this does not mean that the gains will last all year — but it was a good start.

In addition, stocks are not the only items that are going up in price. Oil prices have topped $60 per barrel for the first time since 2015. Interest rates have also risen, though the move has been more pronounced with regard to shorter-term rates. Again, this does not mean that oil prices and rates are moving up all year. On the other hand, if the economy does continue to expand and this expansion accelerates because of lower tax rates, it makes sense that rates and commodity prices will move up. Yes, it is hard to get a feel for a year based upon two weeks of activity, but we already have some interesting news to reflect upon this year.


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