TEAM EMPOWERMENT MORTGAGE CHATTER: March 28, News & Headlines; 5 Social Media Tips (Pt. 11); Double Dip or Double Your Money?; Real Estate or Customer Service?

Enjoy the sunshine….a little break from the rain is always nice



“There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.” – by Victor Hugo


HUD has some free training classes coming up that might be of interest to some. At 1PM EST on the 30th it is presenting a Webinar “Important Changes to HudHome Sales” for HUD registered real estate brokers nationwide. “FHA staff will provide information on recent changes & how they will affect the real estate community.” Register at HUD is also doing some loss mitigation training in Hollywood, Florida on April 28th for housing counselors. “Please Note: The completion of NSC’s Online EClass Training is a “prerequisite” prior to registering & attending any HUD live classroom training. The NSC EClass training date on your certificate is a required field when registering for live classroom training.” Register at, and additional information regarding EClass requirements can be found in Mortgagee Letter 2009-45 at

Friday I mentioned a proposal for paying foreclosed-upon borrowers to help them start anew. “Sheila Bair, FDIC chairman, raised the idea but people involved said it was not an official government proposal and was rejected strongly by some of the banks.” I received this note. “Marx, Engels, Lenin, etc. would be proud that their failed ideas on economics live on in Sheila Bair and our benevolent banking/mtg industry ‘regulators’. How many more times do we need to listen to our leaders talk about abandoning free market principles in order to save the free market? ‘Congress recognizes that the country’s debt path is unsustainable. While the economics of the matter is straightforward – cut spending, raise taxes, or both – the politics is not. And if voters cannot insist, or are not going to insist, on fiscal sustainability, and if Congress is not going to control public finances on its own accord, then one must conclude that the fiscal process is lacking a necessary ingredient.’ A wise economist once said, ‘if something is unsustainable, it will not be sustained.’ If our ‘leaders’ don’t get their fiscal house in order, bond vigilantes and our creditors will do it for them. Then Helicopter Ben will start raining more dollars into the economy magic printing press, call it stimulative quantitative easing III, IV, V or whatever, and then we’ll be Weimar Germany. My parents came to this country by literally escaping communist Yugoslavia for economic and political freedom, and it scares me to think that, less than 50 years later, I might have to leave the US for the same reasons my parents fled communist Yugoslavia….in search of economic and political freedom.”

Turning to the markets, the 10-yr closed around 3.44% on Friday, with not much in the way of news aside from GDP from the 4th quarter and a University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index survey that showed a drop in sentiment back to November 2009 levels. From the previous Friday’s close, however, 10’s lost 1.375 in price and its yield shot up 17 basis points. For the week MBS prices lost between .5-.75 points on current coupon rates.

For economic news this week today we will have Personal Income and Consumption/Spending, along with PCE (Personal Consumption Expenditures) and Pending Home Sales. Tomorrow is the Case-Shiller 20-city Index, which never seems to bring good news, and Consumer Confidence. On Wednesday the 30th we have the Challenger Job Cuts and ADP Employment Change. Thursday is Jobless Claims, Factory Orders, and the Chicago Purchasing Manager’s Survey. Friday is all the unemployment data, the ISM index data, and Construction Spending.

Last month’s Personal Income was up 1%, and Personal Spending rose .2%, although adjusted for inflation spending fell .1% – the first decline in a year. Later this morning look for a pick-up of about .5%. Bonds are not really trading yet although at this point rates appear to be slightly worse with the 10-yr at perhaps 3.47%.


(Part 2 of the 3 Basics of Social Media from Thursday’s Email)

 Are you gaining clients from your social networking activities? If not, it’s time to create a plan that not only builds your friends and followers, but also helps them become your clients as well.

There are literally thousands of ways to use social media to attract clients. The following list contains strategies that are working for top agents in today’s market.

1. Micro-marketing on Facebook business pages

One strategy that has worked well for a number of agents is to set up a fan page or business page for the specific markets they serve. On this page, provide as much information about the subdivision, condo project, or market niche that you are serving. In most cases, the more specific you are in your target, the better your results will be.

2. Market your listings on Facebook Marketplace

As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, the Facebook terms of use prohibits you from marketing your listings on your Facebook profile page. You can market your listings on your Facebook group and fan page.

3. Video testimonials

Video testimonials are one of the most powerful ways to build your online identity using social media. Not only do you help others build their online presence, you build your personal online presence as well.

There are a variety of places that you can post video testimonials. One great place is, which comes up high on most search engines.

Another excellent way to post video testimonials for your friends and followers is on LinkedIn. Do this without expecting the person you recommended to reciprocate. The law of attraction says that this will come back to you in a positive way. It just may not return through the same person you recommended.

4. Communicate with your high-probability contacts

Research suggests that most people can manage no more than 150 relationships. If you have more than 150 people in your database of friends and followers, consider which 150 are most important to your business.

Since most social media platforms allow you to create lists, place these individuals into a separate business list. This allows you to focus on seeing the interactions that matter most to you.

The next step is to make a point of commenting on five posts each day from your list. This means that you will contact each person in your core database of 150 people at least once a month. The research from the National Association of Realtors shows that most people will do business with the Realtor with whom they have had the most recent contact. You want to be that person.

5. Give to get

One of the best ways to convert a friend into a client is to use a “give-to-get” approach. In other words, you take the initiative in helping that friend with something that matters to him.

For example, if one of your high-probability contacts is involved in a walk or run for a charitable cause, offer to volunteer or participate at that event. This gives you valuable face-to-face time that strengthens your connection. Another alternative would be to prepare a snack bag with water and energy snacks that you give to your friend’s friends who are running or walking in the event.

Using social media to build connection is not rocket science. Simply build your online connection with those who share a mutual interest; interact with them regularly online; see them face to face as much as practical; and be involved in giving back to others.


Last week, MacroMarkets LLC announced the results of the March 2011 Home Price Expectations Survey, compiled from 111 responses of a diverse group of economists, real estate experts and investment and market strategists. Many media sources reported on the survey’s comment about a projected “double dip’ in prices. What the media didn’t aggressively cover was the other projection in this same report. Today we want to shed light on both portions.

Double Dip

There is no doubt the survey looked negatively on house prices through the rest of 2011. Robert Shiller, MacroMarkets co-founder and chief economist said:

“Overall, the sentiment among our expert panel regarding the U.S. housing market outlook continues to deteriorate. Now they are expecting only a weak recovery, and even that is not until 2013. This uninspiring view must be influenced by the persistently weak market fundamentals … high unemployment, supply overhang, an unabated foreclosure crisis, and constrained mortgage credit.”

Terry Loebs, MacroMarkets managing director commented on the dreaded “double dip”.

“Many more experts are now projecting a double-dip after witnessing the double-dead cat bounce that came in the wake of expired government stimulus programs. In December, only 15% of our panelists were projecting that a new post-crash low would materialize for national home prices. Now, just three months later, almost 50% foresee a double-dip happening this year, and not a single panelist expects national home prices to recover to the pre-bubble trend in the coming 5 years.”

However, the longer term view of home prices was much more optimistic.

This means, if you purchased a house today with a 10% cash down payment, you could double your cash in five years; even taking the projected double dip into consideration.

Shiller also noted that there continues to be significant dispersion among the panelists regarding their individual home price forecasts:

“A few respondents do see a real recovery, predicting prices up 20% or so by 2015.”

If that happens, you would have TRIPLED your cash.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling in the next 12 months, you should do it before the projected “double dip”. If you are thinking of buying and you plan to live in the home for at least five years, your financial investment will be fine.


There is a lot of talk about real estate agents being in customer service. Certainly those talking don’t mean this to be news. We get paid to provide very important and very difficult services.

Think of a transaction as a management companies and title companies being in customer service, because they build their business on relationships with third-party referrals (from real estate agents, for example). Real estate sellers and buyers need a solution, not a towel. We don’t provide real estate services for tips based on guests’ whims.

I will believe I am in the customer service business when I get paid a fee or hourly rate for services rendered to a real estate homebuyer or seller. We are dealing with large purchases on behalf of families and individuals who need our help. My guess: This is one reason they don’t Google “customer service” when they want to buy or sell real estate.

Allow me present a couple of scenarios, because positioning is so important to any business. What you don’t want to do, of course, is confuse the market — or even worse, yourself — in today’s real estate market as to whether you are in real estate sales or customer service.

Which of these sample ads would best fit your services?

1. “Looking for a service-oriented real estate agent to help you purchase your next home? Look no further. I am a Realtor. I will answer all of your questions by phone, text or e-mail seven days a week. Think of me as your concierge/chauffeur. If you don’t like my services because I was of no real help (you don’t buy), don’t pay me.”

2. “Home shopping can be fun when you give me the great honor of providing more than 100 services to you at no charge. We laugh. We have lunch. We look at as many homes as you wish. You will absolutely love my service, and as always, I work for nothing and pay my own expenses.

Gas prices got you concerned? Not to worry. My car is my office. Let me show you the home of your dreams. I am a no-pressure customer service professional. I am not a door-to-door salesman, but I do provide door-to-door service.”

In closing, we have learned for years that referrals do not come from satisfied customers — they come from enthusiastic ones. We are in the service business, for sure. But we have known that for years. What we have not known, perhaps, is how to sell ourselves on how important our professional services are to many who use them.

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