The Zebra Blog

QRM Mortgage Rule: What You Need to Know

house and percentage symbols

In 2010 the federal government enacted the banking reform bill developed to address the financial crisis and the number of homeowners who lost their homes due to too liberal lending practices. While additional regulations were needed, the result was that many of the resulting lending requirements were too strict and due to “risk retention” requirements that were not only expensive, but caused many would-be homeowners to not qualify for loans based on these new requirements.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is the first in a number of regulators to release the final version of the Qualified Residential Mortgage rule (QRM). This Qualified Mortgage (QM) which was enacted in January of 2014 and the new Qualified Residential Mortgage Rules (QRM) provide guidelines and requirements that a loan must meet to be considered safe enough to be sold to investors. During the financial crisis, any investors lost their life savings due to investment institutions purchasing undersecured mortgages.

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Ask Denise: Designations & Certifications

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, I am having business cards made. I am doing a two-sided card, but all my designation and certification logos won’t fit on there. What should I do?

A:  Since we create brands for agents, which usually includes creating templates for letterhead, notecards, business cards, etc, this is a question we are asked a lot – “What designations and certifications matter and what should I include?”

The answer may surprise you. Most people outside the real estate industry don’t know what the “alphabet soup” of designations and certifications means. If you put a lot of acronyms on a card, that may look impressive, but the real question is how do these benefit a client? Unless you take the time to educate the public on what those are and why they should care, then I don’t think you need to put a lot of logos on the back of your card.       Read more »

Design Spotlight: Fuchsia Florals

fuchsia florals

Today’s design spotlight features the newly refreshed Instant Identity branding design “Fuchsia Florals.” This bold and dramatic design uses the high contrast of stark black against bright fuchsia pink to grab your eye and hold your attention. Cheerful and vibrant this design shows personality and a love for nature – specifically flowers and varying shades of blush, rose, coral, and magenta. This branding template is also very customizable and would be easy to feature your interests, your colors, and your personality.

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Ask Denise: Monthly Income

Denise Lones

Q: Denise, as we are heading towards the end of the year, I am looking back at the last two years and feel like I have made good headway coming out of the recession. I would love to take a look at my business and determine what this actually looks like on a monthly basis so I can do a better plan for next year. Do you have anything that can help me?

A:  I am so glad you are planning ahead and want to take a close look at your numbers so you can have a good sense of your patterns. My company has developed a spreadsheet which can help you take a look at your activity and gross commission income per month for the last three years. Use the “Data” tab and the graphs will update automatically. This Microsoft Excel sheet is available to everyone!

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The Secrets to Targeting a Geographical Farm

target neighborhood

Many agents who think about targeting a geographical farm choose that farm based on what they think will produce best results. But without verifying that research, this may not actually be the case. Other agents like the idea of farming their own neighborhood because it is convenient and people may already know them from that farm area. But you still have to do the research required to verify that the farm you live in is a viable farm in terms of sales.

There are many parameters one should consider before selecting an area:

  • Total number of homes: Consider both the logical size and the cost to market. Choosing a farm with 400 homes can be cost-prohibitive. In fact, I recommend a geographical farm of 300 homes or fewer if you are just starting out or on a budget. However, you can always choose a smaller farm in a larger area to focus on.
  • Average sales price: The average sales price in the farm is important because it will show you the commission the farm has brought in the past and you can get an idea of its potential in the future.
  • Average commission: to be earned per home sold, depending on your fees.

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Don’t Let Vertical Homes Shrink Your Buyer Pool

tall building

During my Club Zebra call this week, I had a wonderful question from my client Laurie Way about how to market and sell unique properties. She mentioned that she often has multi-level properties listed, which are abundant in her Seattle real estate market. Her challenge is that open houses are not effective as the open house format accentuates the number of stairs (rather than accentuating the other great features of the property!), due to potential buyers spending much of their time climbing the stairs.

This question took me right back to my days of selling new construction, particularly three and four level townhomes. When you have a property with multi-levels you have to be very careful not to present the home as an adult exercise facility (which is how it can appear when potential buyers are touring the home and have to climb four flights of stairs). It is critical that you slow the buyer down on each level so they can experience what it will feel like to actually live in the house on a daily basis. The challenge with open houses and buyer showings on multi-level properties is that usually the buyers and the agent go through the home quickly because there is nothing to slow them down or no particular feature to pay special attention to.       Read more »

Ask Denise: Advertising in Small Publications

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, I have been approached by the local high school asking if I want to advertise in their basketball booster program. I can put a business card size ad in the booklet. Do you think this is something I should do?

A:  I can’t tell you the number of times I have been asked a question like this. If you are asking me if you should randomly put an ad in a publication that is small and probably will be competing with several other real estate agents, the answer would be no. However, here is where I would say yes:       Read more »

The Lead Generation Triangle

Lead Gen Triangle

Whenever agents ask me what the best kind of lead generation method is I have to answer with the same two words every time … it depends.

Great lead generation depends on so many factors and it has to match your personality, your skill level and your interest level. If you have no interest in sitting at open houses then you should not be doing that for your lead generation method. You won’t be able to sustain them and your energy at the open house will be low. Buyers that come through the open house will feel your low energy and your results will reflect that.

Lead generation has to be something that you can sustain over a period of time and you need to have the skills to be effective at that particular type of lead generation. For example, if you are not good at writing and you don’t enjoy it then I wouldn’t recommend you write a weekly blog.

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