Monday, December 23, 2013

H - Homeownership

The final piece in our philosophy.  H is for homeownership.  We are in the business of financing the most important (and largest) transacation that most people will have in their lifetime...and we don't take that responsibility lightly.  It's immensely important that we always remember that we play a huge part in ensuring a successful outcome for all of our clients.  If we fail to remember this, then we have missed the point.

H - stands for Homeownership.  We take pride in being able to hlep people complete the most important financial transaction they will ever have.

It can be about the commission, it can be about the prestige, it can be about being the best - but when it's about those things and not about the client, then something will most likely go wrong.  How do we keep it about the client?

  1. Communication/Teaching - Sure not everybody wants to know the details of what we do, but they do need to know that the file is important.  We show them it is important by communicating weekly the status of their home loan so they will rest easy that the home will soon be theirs.  When we run into snags, we find the solution and work the borrower through the process to reach the solution so they don't have anxiety.  We make sure they know what is going on and we are kind and considerate understanding that a lot is on the line. 
  2. Being Honest and Having Integrity - In the spirit of being honest - it's not always that easy.  It's easier sometimes to not make the "bad news" or "tough news" phone call  and instead opt for an impersonal email.  It's easier to ignore a red flag, then to be honest with what the borrower may be facing early in the process to make sure they know what may happen.  And in short, it's harder to be honest and have integrity then it is to be the opposite.  However, that is what we are called to do.  We stay honest, humble and gracious in order to help the client know we mean to work with them and not against them in the transaction.  In the end, the borrower should never fight their mortgage lender to secure the home they want to buy. 
  3. Listening to what they Need  - We have all been there, the sales guy across the table or on the phone, not hearing whatever it is you are telling them.  All they hear and see is that you are a potential sale or closing that earns them money.  They have missed the don't need to buy the biggest house on the street, you don't need to do a 30 YR Fixed loan because you want to pay the home off in 15 years, you don't want an ARM program to drive the rate down.  You want what you need and it's our job to help you work through your desires, wants and needs and find the right solution for you.  If it was about us and our team, then we wouldn't listen.  But it's not - it's about you, your family, your finances, and your new home.  So we listen and we help direct you to what fits you.  That's the key to listening.
These are but snapshots of how we work to help the client.  But most importantly, a wise man once told me, the real estate process is full of anxiety and we are defined by whether we help reduce that anxiety in the transaction or foster it's growth.  We work to reduce the anxiety, because with transactions that have so much meaning - if we don't, then we missed the point.  And missed it entirely.

Here's to continued homeownership for many clients in 2014 and beyond.

Monday, December 16, 2013

F - Is for Family.

I am going in reverse order - but it keeps things interesting.  Homeowners Financial Group USA, LLC - is committed to delivering 3 key concepts withing our business.  They are creatively crafted out of our initials...H...F...G.  Last week I spoke about the "G" and giving back and today the "F" - Family.  It's thrust comes in who we hire and how we do business.

F - Stands for Family.  We hire only likeminded individuals who value our family style culture, treating other employees like family members. 

The idea is that we are a family: working together for the goal of growing in every aspect of what we do.  This growth can be seen in the way we originate loans, in the strength of our numbers and in the way we lead in the industry.  This plan for growth allows a truly cohesive family to emerge where each individual wants the best for each other member and gives respect in each of their defined roles.  At HFG, we experience that daily as we strive for each LO to excel to their highest potential and each member, from Quality Control to President, to know they bring value to the overall experience of all our clients.

As our customers, you are a part of that family.  As soon as you begin working with a LO - we understand you deserve the respect, understanding, and care to be given just as if you were an immediate family member.  We know how important it is to feel wanted, needed, and ultimately respected by all parties in the transaction and so we value each client in a way that brings them into our family.

This is a goal that is not without merit and it's also a goal that is sometimes hard to achieve.  All families struggle, fight, and disagree - but the families that stay together and unite for a common purpose, achieve a great deal more than those who don't.  Sure we have our disagreements, sure we have difficult situations that we have to work through, but more importantly than that - we believe in each other and what each person means to our company.  All we work to do is extend that family feel to our clients.

So as you share your lives this week with family, whether near or far, remember that we value each other and our clients, the way you value the time you spend with yours.  Our goal is to be more than just a financial piece to your is to be the family that stands behind your needs and works to help your reach your dream of homeownership, debt free living, investment building, or whatever you choose to do with real estate.

In short, thank you to the team of people I work with at HFG - I couldn't do what I have done to this point without their love, care and support.  And thank you to my clients, who have allowed me into your family and thus have joined our family at HFG - without each other, it would make for a much less enjoyable experience.

From our Family here at HFG to all our extended Family clients - Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

G stands for Giving Back - It's not just about us...

What's it mean if we aren't giving back?  We spend too much time concerned about our needs, our wants, our desires, that we miss out on valuable opportunities to help those around us who may truly be in need.  I believe that we must see the need in others and work to meet that need.  As part of Homeowners Financial Group USA, LLC - we are serious about that statement above.  Our committment to giving back to the community is so ingrained in us, it's part of our philosophy.

The G - stands for Giving BackAt the core of our corporate culture is the concept of giving back to the communities that have been so important to our success.

We are more than just about growing our company and reaping the rewards, we want to in turn give that back in a way that provides lasting impact.  This has been done through numerous events this year:

But nothing shows where are heart is more than THE CARE FUND.  As a mortgage bank we get the great responsibility of supplying hundreds of thousands of people the opportunity of owning their own home.  We take that responsibility seriously and we also take family seriously.  The Care Fund grew out of desire to ensure that whether good times or bad - we help people stay in their homes.  The Care Fund was designed to help families with children who are suffering from various illnesses to continue to make their mortgage payments while working through the illness.  As the motto goes, "A parent should never have to choose between working to pay the mortgage and caring for their child."  So we raise money in an effort to help/assist families all across the valley who are in need. 

We are nearly close to our goal of raising $1MM and I am fortunate enough to be a part of this company and have contributed nearly $4K based on the transactions I have closed this year.  It's an honor to be a part of our giving back in a way that is tangible to those we mean to serve. 

Before the year ends, take a look at The Care Fund as it may be something that you have a heart to contribute too. 

We aren't just about us - we stand for more than that!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Preparing for 2014

The mortgage market has pulled through what was the longest stretch in refinance history.  Often times, "refinance booms", last a few months to maybe a half a year, but we have seen the most recent refinance wave last almost 18 months.  This has definitely freed up liquidity for clients that were able to take advantage of rising home prices and lower rates.  It also helped borrowers secure a better long term outcome with their mortgages as 15 YR fixed rate loans were used by many to help rid themselves of their debt sooner rather than later. 

As a Licensed Mortgage Loan Officer - I have been fortunate enough to help new clients and past clients better position themselves with their current mortgage.  As rates trend higher, I know they will look back and be extremely happy with their current position.  Additionally, I have seen and heard from many clients that are ready to sell their current homes and move on to "bigger and better" things as their families grow.  With all of this information in mind, it helps to begin preparing for 2014.

As the consumer, what can one expect:

  • Increasing Interest Rates - sure, everyone would love to keep rates at these historic all time lows, but the longer they remain at these levels, the more it shows the economy is still stagnant.  A growing economy should be seen as a positive because we are in a lot better position in 2014 then we were in 2008.  Look for rates to continue to rise and most likely by the end of 2014 in the upper 5% range.

  • QM and Ability to Repay - This will impact some sectors of the overall mortgage market.  The main point to consider is that we have been working under most of these rules for the last several years.  Low DTI, strong Credit score and more down payment will always make for a safer client and overall risk when buying a home.  In a perfect world all homes would be bought with 20% or more down and they would be set to be paid off within 5-7 years.  In the recent ERA of 30 YR Loans - nobody remembers when homes were bought and if anything was financed it was paid off within 5 years or restructured. Only since the mid-30's (after the Great Depression) did these mortgages come to be.   So, what do we do with QM and Ability to Repay - we qualify clients with the peace of mind that they can actually afford to buy the home they are living in.  Look, will there be some clients that are impacted...sure the jumbo Interest Only loans won't exist and excessive credit risk will be scrutinized - but homes will still sell and people will still want to own their own home.

  • Balanced Housing Market - For the first time in years, the market may have some balance.  That will mean accurately priced homes and a balanced amount of buyers and sellers.  Short sales and foreclosures will continue to stay flat, like they were this year, and less investors will be looking to get "deals".  All of this means, that there will be "normal" sales (if there is such a thing) with hopefully happier clients.
2014 is a promising year - one that will define how the economy is really progressing and I believe the mortgage market is going to excel.  Here's to 2014.

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