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There’s always something to howl about

Want to increase business? Answer your phone

Do you want to sell your listing faster and for more money?  Answer your phone

Do you want to work with more buyers?  Answer your phone

Lenders, do you want more loan business from agents?  Answer your phone

I know this sounds simplistic but more sales are made on the phone then are made via text or email.  This year, I made a conscious effort to ANSWER every phone call which come in.  I even bought a contraption which charges my phone and puts the calls on the car speakers.  The connection sucks but it allows me to acknowlege whomever called and to “triage” why they are calling.  If it’s a “money” call, I tell them that I will pull off the freeway and call them in a matter of minutes.  If it’s something to do with something other than work, I ask them to send me a text so I can call them later.

It doesn’t always work.  Sometimes, I’m a in a meeting and can’t answer the phone but by changing my mindset to believing that every single phone call represents a five-figure check, I am conditioned to sell.

Most importantly, our high tech culture has made incoming phone calls a “nuisance’ to many people.  if you are on the dialing end of the phone call, a voicemail or text, instead of an answer, tells you that you just might be bothering someone.  If you call me, I try to make you the most important person in the world.

You ARE the most important person in the world because you are the one paying my bills.  So call me at 858-777-9751

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Real Estate Auctions: Not Just For Foreclosures Anymore

Two years ago, I started paying MLS, NAR, CA, and SDAR dues.  Since my wife Debra was taking on more of the lending responsibilities, I spent the bulk of my time working with the real estate agents.  Having MLS access allowed me to hold broker opens for my agents, hold open houses for their listings, and act as a de facto “buyer’s agent” for them when they were out of town.

I had a few “orphan” clients and, in the past 30 months,  I represented about a dozen buyers and listed and sold two properties as a real estate agent.  It’s not something I love but understanding the brokerage side of the business enhanced our knowledge as lenders.  We understand contracts, deadlines, contingencies, and conversations with our agent clients better.  Throwing mom and dad in the station wagon, showing homes, writing offers, meeting property inspectors, negotiating repairs, and closing deals has made us better lenders so I’m grateful for the experience.

Eight years ago, a local hedge fund type started an online real estate auction site.  I wrote about it here and was tangentially involved but it never really took off.  I think it was more because of the online component and less of the auction component.  Generally speaking, when tech types and hedge fund guys try to disinternediate the local brokerage, they lose.  Greg wrote about the next flop yesterday.

I have always been intrigued with auctions so it shouldn’t surprise you that I have followed Harcourts, the New Zealand real estate brokerage’s entry into the Southern California market.  Harcourts has been holding non-distressed auctions for two years now with tepid results.  I had a few thoughts about why its results are mediocre so I started to form a new firm; California House Auctions.

We are a vendor.  We have an exclusive agreement with one of the top auctioneers in California.  He’s held over 600 auctions in the past thirty years and is well known in the community.  We’ll be helping ANY real estate brokerage to sell their (non-distressed) listing through a live auction.  We’ll charge a fee for each successful auction (paid at close of escrow to a licensed real estate brokerage).

I am still slogging through some legal and licensing stuff but we should hold our first auction later this month.

That’s my latest scheme and I hope to get your input as we progress.  We think this could be a great way to sell non-distressed properties and we think the live auction on the front lawn will help our brokerage clients earn more listings from the neighbors.

I’m thrilled we kickstarted RE.net2.0 and can’t wait to see what all of you have been doing these past five years

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My ideal closing date is always yesterday: The perfect real estate listing in the reckless teenage years of the new millenium.

On Facebook of late I’ve written about the idea of the perfect offer – the sum total purchase contract package most likely to win the de facto auction I am holding for my real estate listing.

We’ll talk about this in some detail, in due course, but for now the decision matrix for the ideal offer is obvious:

Highest safest soonest closable net return.

The price is the price, and you can lose me fast by dicking around. List or better? I like cash now, financed fast and FHA almost never. We’ll discount your offer for the time-value-of-money, obviously, but also for the closing-risk entailed by every new dawning day. My ideal closing date is always yesterday.

The corollary of the perfect offer is the perfect listing, and that’s an elusive prey. What we want is a marketing presentation – home, listing, photos, collateral – that cannot not elicit avid offers.

I list almost never lately, mostly repeats and referrals, which for me means a lot of investors. My sellers can be tight with a buck, but they’re rational. That matters, because a perfect listing wants a near-perfect house.

How near-perfect? FHA/VA-able, obviously, but I want more than that: Turn-key livable from Day One, with upgrades and spruce-ups as needed, cleaned to mother-in-law perfection and staged to charm. I want to be indubitably appraisal- and inspection-prepped, but more than that I want to be better than my competition – by a lot.

I don’t have to be luxurious or dramatic, just two or three cuts above everything else my potential buyers are seeing. For the same money or a little more, my house is your new home – and everything else is a work-in-progress.

We list just after midnight on Friday morning, this to maximize the marketing benefit of the Days on Market tally but also to maximize buyer frenzy: We offer up the scratch when we know buyers will be itching. My listing should be referenced in many, many “We must see this Saturday” emails.

The listing price? My best guess of the full appraisal value on the day of listing – no discounts, no testing-the-market, just what the home is actually worth in fair-market-value terms. Every good agent will know I’m right – and accordingly will know not to dick around.

But then what’s the point of being FHA/VA-able, since closing-costs offers are likely to fail? To drive up the numbers on the all-cash and conventional offers, for one thing. And who knows? Maybe the appraiser will find the number he’s looking for, should we end up taking an offer with costs coming back.

My baseline assumption is that a listing like this should produce multiple full-price-or-better offers within the first ten days on market, ideally within the first three days. I’m not always right, but when I am, I’m a market-maker: My all-cash deals make nearby financed purchases more appraisable.

There’s nothing like a seller’s market, I know only too well. But even when it’s easy to make deals, going the extra mile goes miles and miles in extra money for the seller.

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Who’s afraid of the big, bad bot? Real estate “AI” is a cargo cult – of trivia.

I’ll talk more about this as we go forward: I am listing almost never, but I am listing as close to perfectly as I can. I have made myself into a killer real estate listing agent by way of behavior modeling: Double-thinking appraisers and experienced agents to get to the unassailable price, then selling to absolutely everyone in the process. That includes writing rebuttal language in private MLS fields for agents to deploy on their buyers – selling by attenuation.

That doesn’t end. Under Contract is a dance of magnets, a war of attrition among mutual repulsions. This is where closing skills really matter – and that’s why I am selling my client’s interests all the time, to everyone, all the way to the close.

My point? Come and get me, robot. I don’t give a rat’s ass where the nearest Starbucks is, but I know how to get to the closing table. You don’t.

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What is Position Zero on Google? All sales fundamentally start as questions….

One of the easiest things to understand in sales is that everything starts with a question. How much home can I afford? How do I deal with foreclosure? Who is the best REALTOR? Where is the best neighborhood for my family? There are literally millions of questions starting an equally impressive number of sales out there.

And the wild part is that REALTORS get asked those questions every day. The REALTORS that utilize those questions to start conversations (google Cluetrain Manifesto) and who turn those conversations into relationships and action generate stellar incomes. Those who find themselves incapable of that, well, notsomuch.

The trick is to find the right questions, the trending questions. The ones that are being asked. The ones that answers in the form of content provided on a site will result in Google putting you up there for the world to see. The ones that are WORTH blogging about.

How do you find them? Google it. I am not being a smart aleck. Check out what Google provides currently when you Google “How to Sell My Home”:

They show you both alternative questions to blog about and the FORM that you should use with the answer. (more on that later) Conform your answers to their style whether table, paragraph, list, or etc and watch what happens. Geotarget your answers gently for some extra fun and results.

Additional note: Want to expand the number of questions that Google displays and build yourself a month or more of blogging subjects? Click on each of the current questions in the Google search and Google will provide similar stuff. In a matter of seconds your list can look similar to this, but longer:

Position zero on Google (that’s the one above Zillow, kids…the one with the picture and a list). That’s the one reserved for the boys and girls with authority who a) pick the right questions b) answer them in the form that google wants and c) uses correct formatting…etc but whether you get Position zero or not, you WILL be answering questions that are being asked and you WILL be starting those conversations that lead to sales.

Have at it, y’all. Have some fun with it.

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RE.net 2.0

Here’s a preview of what I have in my mind :

1- Facebook ads (as an agent)
2- Value-added services for real estate agents (as a lender)
3- Non-distressed auctions for real estate brokerages (as a vendor)

I have posted a few things since the content slow down on Bloodhound Blog but a lot has happened since 2012-ish.  The market has recovered nicely and most of the contributors are probably too busy listing, showing or financing property to write.  Bloodhound Blog was on the cutting edge of the RE.net:  provocative, hard-hitting, curious, and innovative.

Let’s start howling again

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“Make a sound. It might make you feel right at home.”

Who’s got something to howl about? Could it be you?

I always have real estate news, just not a hell of a lot of it. I’m a lot less about marketing and a lot more about fundmanentals, these days, but I’m listing more as game theory than as a job, anyway.

Too weird for words, right? Wrong. Nothing is in my world.

The boys say they want to play, and I’m game even if I might not be all that verbose. I do have ideas on marketing – that is, the fundamentals. And I have a Zillow pot-boiler aboiling. And there are meta-issues out there, so far successfully ignored.

But: At the same time: Even at this very moment I am not writing a Willie story that could easily be a movie but could also be a one-set play on its way to proving that it could be a movie but which has to be finished, first, before it can be anything else.

So: Dudes, we’re open for business. Decade-old PHP still works the way I wrote it, and I’ve upgraded WordPress and the plug-ins. We might do some housekeeping later, but for now it’s nice for me to see that big dog’s nose.

Have at it.

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Two Turtle Doves (revisited)

I was weathering a Category 1 hangover the day my big fat Vice President dropped by the office and found me asleep at my desk. He’d come to personally deliver my Christmas bonus (a twenty-dollar bill stapled to a battery-operated Rudolph necktie) and to spread some holiday cheer to the few remaining insurance salesmen who hadn’t already quit to pursue more lucrative door-to-door opportunities. To this day, I can’t figure out why the fat man just didn’t pull my plug right there on the spot.

“Wake up Slick,” he said between clenched teeth. “Tiz the season of our discontent. You got a punch bowl around here?”

I didn’t answer, unsure if I could even open my mouth without hurling. My girlfriend had given me the boot a few days earlier and I’d been on a 24/7 gin-soaked tear ever since.

“No? Then put on your new necktie, get your sorry ass over to K-Mart, and buy one,” he said. He then ripped the crisp twenty from the blinking fabric, crumpled up it in his hammy fist, and bounced it off my forehead. “There, you can use your Christmas bonus to pay for it.”

I should have resigned right then and there but instead, I kept my head, splitting as it was, and did as I was told. I was the lowest ranked sales manager in the worst selling region in the country and it was only a matter of time before everyone…including the idiot standing before me…went down in corporate flames. You see, I may be a lot of messed-up things, but quitter isn’t one of them. Especially when Unemployment Benefits are at stake. So I got in my car and dashed to K-Mart, necktie flashing all along the way.

Twenty minutes later I found myself hovering in Housewares, neck sweating, head pounding, hangover slightly downgraded to tropical storm status, when a short, plump elderly woman approached me with a fistful of coupons. Alvin and those irritating chipmunks were singing that insidious song over the PA system.

“I want to file a complaint,” the woman said. “You don’t have the Sunbeam Foot Soaker in stock. And it was in the paper.”

“Yeah, well . . . I don’t work here.” I said.

“You’re not the manager?”  She asked.

“Um, I am a manager,” I said. “Just not here.”

“But…you’re wearing that necktie,” she replied.

“Yes, but this is also an Italian suit,” I snapped back. “You need to go find somebody with a smock … and a name tag.”

“Well, either way,” she said, “you don’t seem to be very good at what you do. And if I may add … you smell like hooch and stale cigarettes. Perhaps you should find another ‘line of work’ where they let you drink on the job.

Now you can call me a drunk all you want, but I’d rather receive a partridge in a pear tree, every day for a year, from someone I don’t truly love, than be called a quitter. Give me the boot, pull my plug, watch me crash and burn. Whatever. But Like I already said, I’m not quitting anything.

I gathered my composure before replying:

“I’m sorry you feel that way, ma’am. Now… if you’ll please excuse me…”

“Well, I’m sorry too,” she said. “But that lady over there said to ask you. And that you were a manager.”

I looked over and saw another short, plump woman, in a burka, glaring at me, dark eyes focused on my blinking neckwear.

“Okay, I said. “I’m pretty sure that lady over there doesn’t speak English.”

“I speaka better English than you,” the Burka Lady yelled back across the aisle.  “I speaka five languages. How many you speaka, Mister necktie?”

“Yeah?” asked the Elderly Woman. “How many languages you speaka?” And although I’ve never actually seen a Turtle Dove, I‘ve heard they can be nasty if provoked. And at that moment, I’m pretty sure I was flanked by two of them.

Suddenly, a blue light special began whirling above our heads. Something inaudible was announced over the PA system, interrupting the drone of chipmunk falsetto. I froze as a wave of shoppers scurried in our direction. Something about steak knives in Aisle 13…The Elderly Woman was now tugging on my coat sleeve.

“Someone has to be responsible,” she said. “It was advertised in the paper!”

“Yeah, I get it. But for the last time…. I. Don’t. Work. Here.”

“She deserves a raina check!” the Burka Lady shouted. “Itsa false advertising if you don’t. Itsa Bait and Switch!”

“Yes. It’s a Bait and Switch!” the Elderly Woman repeated.

“Bait and Switch!”  Somebody yelled from the mob. “Bait and Switch! Bait and Switch!” they All chanted. I felt like I was being French Hen pecked to death in Big Box Hell.

Just then, TAMMY LYNN, a cashier in a red smock from Electronics, approached me to ask if she could please take her cigarette break. I fired her on the spot. Told her to turn in her smock and her nametag. And that H.R. would be mailing her last check within 60 days.

“Who the F*#% is H.R?” she asked, as I turned and walked out of the store — without a punch bowl.

I pulled off my necktie and tossed it, still blinking, into one of the shopping carts scattered like stray sheep across the parking lot, and headed to the liquor store where at least everybody knew me for what I really was. And instead of a fruity delicious holiday punch that afternoon at the office, we all drank shots of Gordon’s Gin out of coffee mugs until we couldn’t walk.

Toward the end of that still hazy day I recall my Vice President putting a beefy arm around my neck and pulling me close enough to catch a whiff of his boozy breath and cheap aftershave.

“Nice suit, Slick…, he said; slurring, tugging on the lapel of my knock-off Armani double-breasted blazer, twirling the shiny material with his fingertips. “Nice suit … but … it has three too many buttons. You’re an insurance professional, not a mob boss … capeesh?”

I would later declare in a notarized deposition that it was the hooch, and not me, who called the fat bastard a fat bastard and took the first swing, but it didn’t really matter. By New Years Eve, my former boss was selling used Fords in Indiana and I was placed on triple dog-dare probation with the company. They asked me to “quit” of course, several times in fact–but I refused. Instead, Human Resources sent me off packing for 28 days at Hazelton. And this was before it was considered cool to take a holiday vacay at Rehab. But . . .  that was then.

Today? Well today I’m selling timeshares in Mexico and could care less about what strangers think of me, or which shirt goes with what stupid tie, or whether some fat corporate type is going to come along and pull my plug. These days, I wear my skin like a loose garment (without neckwear) and play along if a person mistakes me for someone, or something I am not.

Why just last week I was wearing a sombrero, doing Jello-shots with the Spring Break senoritas at the Cabo Wabo Tiki bar, when a tourist approached me and asked for my autograph. Said she loved my work in “Taxi” and all those “Romancing the Stone” movies with Michael Douglas and Kathleen WhatsHerName. And that I actually looked shorter in person, if such a thing is even possible. I just bit my tongue and played along, signed her little book – although frankly, I don’t see the resemblance between me and Danny D.

But like I said, it doesn’t matter. Just don’t start buying me drinks before noon and we’ll be Kool and the Gang. You see, my new health insurance sucks and won’t cover yet another 28 days in Detox. And besides …as they say, rehab is for “quitters.” Capeesh?

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Four Tips To Supercharge Your Real Estate Brokerage Business

Most real estate agents want two things:  more money and more time off.  The challenge is that they are doing things that (a) are not dollar productive and (b) are time consuming.  Add in more regulatory burdens, market shifts, and industry participants which are staffed by people who are incompetent, lazy, and/or stupid and it makes an agent’s goals harder and harder to reach.

Don’t let this gloomy scenario bring you down.  Here are four action-oriented things, agents can do right away, which have built empires, created wealth, and sparked business revolutions.

1-  Own everything about your business.  You are responsible for EVERYTHING even if it’s “not your job”.  We live in a world where any question can be answered by a smart phone and still I hear agents get confused about where to find answers.  Your broker isn’t calling you back with an answer to that question?  Ask Siri the question and read a few of the thousands of answers offered, by other brokers, on Trulia, Google, and Zillow.  The lender seems stuck?  Call a well-rated lender and get another opinion.

Stop bitching about problems you can’t control and fix them anyway.

You are the captain of your ship.  If the crew screws up and the ship runs aground, the captain is fired.  Your client doesn’t care about the lender, your broker, your transaction coordinator or the seller/buyer.  They want action and they hired you to get it for them.  Own everything.

2- Surround yourself with congruent rather than competent people.  It’s not enough to have a great lender, proficient escrow officer, and proactive transaction coordinator.  You must have people working with you who are on board with your goals.  If your goals is to make more money and save more time, you need to focus on dollar productive activities so you want affiliates who have suggested solutions to problems when they call with problems.  A lender should call you and say “we ran into a problem but this is how I will fix it”.   The escrow officer should be thinking about chasing down your client for signatures rather than emailing you.  The TC should call your client before calling you.  Competent brokers, TCs, lenders, and escrow companies are basically fungible.  Congruent affiliates are something special.  Find and keep them.

3- Make marketing your number one priority.  I need to repeat this one because it’s the most important one; make marketing your number one priority.  The single most important function, to a well-oiled, profit producing brokerage practice is lead generation.

Lead generation has to be the first thing you do in the morning.  If you have nothing going on. pick a listing from the MLS and try to sell it to your contacts.  For example, find a home in a hot market in your town (in my market, that would be Cardiff-by-the-Sea).  Pick one which is fairly new to market.  Start by calling people you have sold to in that zip code then work your way out to clients who have bought within 10 miles of that zip code.  After that, call everyone you know who lives or works in that zip code then work your way out to people who live and work within ten miles of that zip code.  Call them and ask one question:

“Do you know anyone looking to buy a home in XXX?  I found a great deal for them if they are.”

Make 25 calls tomorrow and ask that question 15 times and I think you’ll find 1-2 prospective clients.  Sure, the home will probably be sold out from under you but you will generate a list of potential buyers for the NEXT hot listing which appears in that zip code.  Your contacts won’t hate you for that call because they know that XXX is a “hot market” (especially if they live there).  They will probably think that you are an agent who closes deals.

4. Sell smarter and you won’t be selling.  It’s not enough to get a name and number from your IDX website– you need so much more information and advantage when you call a potential client.  When I receive a referral, or lead, or just a name and phone number from a website, I spend more time researching them than I do on the phone with them.  When I finally DO call that name, I usually know what they do for work, where they live, and who our mutual friends are.  I research them.  Let me give you an example by using fellow Bloodhound (whom I really don’t know):

Assume a San Diego agent called me and said he was going to represent this Bloodhound in a purchase of a Carlsbad home–all I have is a name and phone number.  The first thing I do is find the prospect on LinkedIn.  Here, I learn where he graduated college and that he served as an Army officer so I’ll be talking about why he should use his VA benefit…. even if he THINKS it isn’t for him.   I am going to have a financing comparison ready for him so I can show him the math behind my recommendations.   If the prospect knows the PROCESS I use, he is going to trust my recommendations.  If I find the prospect on Facebook, I will know that we don’t share the same taste in football teams, probably share the same politics, and do share the same affection for Tarantino movies.

My initial call is going to start like this:  “Hi, this is Brian Brady and (agent name) asked me to call you about a loan for a home in Carlsbad.  He didn’t tell me that you are VA-eligible, you were in the Army?”  As we talk, I’m going to ask him if his commissioning source was ROTC (he will tell me about his college days and I’ll talk NCAA hoops with him).  If all goes as I think it will, I’ll tell him about my involvement in San Diego politics and invite him to meet his new Congressman when he moves here.  I will close by telling him to open the financing comparison I created for him and review why I like VA better than conventional for a jumbo loan.

I imagine the perfect introductory call, prepare for it, and make my time on the phone with the prospective client count.  Preparation = higher closing ratios.

Let’s review these four ideas in reverse:  (1) Be prepared for every opportunity to gain a new client so that the call is “perfect” every single time  (2) spend most of your time generating new business  (3) make sure your affiliates are not only competent but congruent with your goals. and (4) be responsible for your own success.

The market may shift soon and business will SEEM tougher.   If you implement these four practices today, 2018 won’t seem as difficult as it is for the other agents in your market.

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Is it me or have underwriting…

My wife and I downsized earlier this year, to save money, reduce debt, and put money into the beginning of a rental empire we hope to build.  We have good cash flow, income, and excellent credit.  And yet, maybe because we earn money as a small business – read: law firm – the underwriting process was hellish.

This wasn’t our first time on the rodeo.  We have bought and sold – having moved a number of times, once from Phoenix to North Carolina, and several times in each state.  But it seems as thought these last two mortgages were the most difficult to get, even though we are in the best spot financially we’ve ever been in.

My wife, who did most of the legwork in tracking down last-minute documents requested by the bank, remarked that if they made it this difficult on us to close, imagine how difficult it must be for an average buyer.

I suppose part of the problem is that we are self-employed, and so there is quite a bit of (understandable) concern about the stability of our income.  But, having filed and reported above-average incomes for 5 years straight, you’d think a mortgage company would take those seriously – after all, we aren’t exactly excited about paying high taxes to Uncle Sam, and it would be stupid just to do that in order to show good “income” to a future mortgagor.

Any thoughts?

3 comments

My Pettiest SM Peeves

I’m a Chicago real estate blogger  who resides in a glass house (okay, an MCM high rise) so throw ’em if you got ’em.  A little collateral stone breakage comes with the territory in this Midwest cranny. Regardless, here are a handful of Social Media miens that tick  me off on a daily basis. In no great order:

1) Stock Photo Images On A Realtor’s Blog
My take: If you’re going to offer up something to the SM gods that even faintly smells literary, have the decency (imagination?) to snap your own accompanying picture. (Unless of course, its a really cool shot of a vintage car or dog.)

2) Blogs In A Box
My take: Come on fellow ‘bloggers,’ we all know you don’t write that crappy content about real estate minutiae that you plaster on LinkedIn and Facebook every other day. (“6 Factors Homeowners Should Consider Blah Blah Blah.” ??? Yeah right. I saw three different Realtors with their names on some re-tweaked version of that one the other day.) It’s pretty obvious you’re paying some vendor $1.26 per copy to re-brand these thinly-veiled press releases, ‘newsletters,’ and USA Today column fillers. Grow a brain, please.

3) Proprietary Use Of The Word ‘Professional’
My take: At least once a month I get dissed because my shaved headed, sun shaded profile picture is ‘unprofessional.’  It’s all in the POV, folks.  See, to me it looks like everybody else on LinkedIn appears to have gotten the Glamor Shots Jos. A. Bank Funeral Director Discount. If you think your shizz is so self- important then try this: unsubscribe from the SM platform for a couple days and see how much the rest of the buttoned-down world doesn’t notice.

4) Facebook Profile With Your Name But Your Child/Grandchild’s Face

My take: Someone please explain???

5) Facebook Pages Of Dead Dudes Acting Like They’re Not

My take: Keith Moon and George Carlin immediately come to mind. No shit, Keith even wished everybody a ‘Happy Friday’ last week and he kicked it back in 1978. Look it up.

6) Bully Commentors, Distressed Diplomats From Angola In Possession Of My $20 Million (US),  & All Other Web Crawling Spamsters
My take: Bite me.

G.

 

 

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Getting a San Diego Condo VA-Approved Adds Value To Service Members

Debra Brady and I are experts at VA-financing.  One of the things we do very well is secure a VA condo complex approval for condominiums which aren’t agency approved.  Some comments from a recent YELP review:

I started the home buying process while still on deployment, and Brian graciously worked with me across 13 time zones to begin explaining the ins and outs of home buying.

This is actually kind of fun for me.  With technology, deployed service members can communicate with me well in advance of buying.  Many times, when deployed,  they have free time with little to do.  They use Gchat, Facebook Messenger, Skype, and email to communicate with me.  Sometimes it makes for some weird hours but I enjoy finally meeting them when they return to the States.

I googled VA home approval, and his was the first name to pop up.  Brian is an absolute master at working with the VA.

That’s what I love to hear–that we come up first on Google Search for this topic.

Brian took my wife and I out for cocktails to explain in person the different loan rates and explain the decision making process for each of them, and Debra worked like a fiend to make sure thinks were done WELL ahead of time.

This is how Debra and I work.  I spend most of my time “selling” real estate agents and educating clients and Debra gets the loan done.  When we’re clicking properly, I am “Mr. Outside” and she is “Mrs. Inside”.  Clients know that she is in the office, every day from 8AM until 230PM each day and available on the telephone.  This frees me up to: (a) find more business for us and (b) properly educate home buyers about the process.  We pride ourselves on “no surprises” during the loan process.

To any Servicemembers who are interested in using their VA loan option, look no further than Brian, he is THE expert who will get you into the place you want.

That’s what I hope to hear on every VA loan we close.  It doesn’t ALWAYS happen but, I’m proud to say, it does happen more often than not.

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How Not to Message

Taking this moment to give this brief lesson on how not to message:

Neil Siegel, a former special counsel to Joe Biden and supporter of ObamaCare/Affordable Care Act, was on WUNC’s The State of Things on Wednesday discussing recent appellate litigation involving the subsidies authorized by the Act. The DC Circuit ruled Monday that subsidies are illegal in states that did not set up their own insurance exchanges. North Carolina is one of those states. The Fourth Circuit, in which North Carolina is located, found otherwise.

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Passed my Check Ride

Back in January, I wrote here about taking private pilot lessons. My post was inspired by one Greg wrote in December about mastering something difficult this year. Earlier this month I took an oral exam and then check ride with an designated examiner for the FAA, and I passed!

The next day, I piled my wife and a little bit of luggage into my Piper Cherokee, and took off for the coast. An hour and 15 minutes later, I was down at Ocracoke, part of the Outer Banks that would ordinarily take someone 6 hours or so to get to by car from Raleigh.

My wife and I got a lift to the local pub – really, the only one worth considering on Ocracoke – where I ordered a non-alcohol beverage and we got some shrimp and burgers, before flying south/southeast along the coast to Beaufort, North Carolina.

It was a ton of fun.

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Hey, @Zillow: Why are you calling the Realtors and lenders you prey upon #racist?

And why on earth do they continue to do business with you?

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