Great News for Interest Rates | Is Now The Right Time to Buy A Home?

IS NOW THE RIGHT TIME?

Are you thinking about buying a house, but not sure it’s the right time? Trust us, we get it. Buying a home is a huge decision with many factors to take into account, such as neighborhood, school district and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms to name a few. However, the biggest question in most people’s mind is, ‘How much house can I really afford?’ That answer has its own set of factors, with one in particular being the Interest Rate (cue the ominous music). But we have good news. Actually, we have REALLY good news (drumroll)…

THE BIG NEWS

Last month, the Federal Reserve officially announced that there are no plans to raise interest rates in 2019. With the current rates still historically low, and holding steady, there is no reason to wait to begin the search for your dream home (champagne pop and confetti)!

Even better, mortgage rates haven’t been this low since February 2018, almost 14 months ago, and Freddie Mac reports 30-year fixed rates were down to 4.28% in March 2019. This rate was only available a few months ago by taking out a fifteen-year fixed or adjustable rate loan, which for many buyers, is not a very feasible option. Thirty-year fixed loans were close to 5% just this past November and that rate was still considered historically low, so a potential rate in the low 4’s, in our opinion, is definitely worth taking advantage of if you can.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?

Firstly, a lower rate equals a lower payment. A lower payment means you could potentially get more home or buy in your dream neighborhood, or have additional funds to decorate your new home.

Bottom line. With current interest rates holding steady and the news from the Federal Reserve, 2019 is definitely the year to consider taking the leap and making that long awaited purchase. It’s an investment that will continue to pay off in dividends for many years to come.

If you have additional questions or would like to learn more about what loan programs would be right for you, give us a call today at 480-759-1500.

We would love to help you turn hope into a home!

How To Win in Real Estate… Long Term

We sat down with Jason Crittenden of Realty One Group for part two of our video marketing series. Jason is a multi-million dollar producer ranked in the top 1% of agents in the United States and an East Valley expert. His video marketing practices have been so instrumental in propelling his business to the next level that he started his own video marketing company, Permanent Estate Media. Below, he shares a little about his views on real estate videos and the importance of incorporating it in your overall marketing strategy.

There are a lot of ways to do a lot of things; of that I have no doubt. You can build a business calling expired listings and FSBO’s. That works, but it’s not very fun.

You can build a business by holding mega open houses three to four times a week. That really does work! But again, not very fun.

You can pay third party platforms to provide lead generation, and that can yield some success, but like the others, is definitely not fun.

For me personally, the way to build a business in real estate has, and always will be, with referral business. There is no better feeling than hearing prospective new clients call and say, “John told me I should call you.”

Besides referral business, what other business should you be intentional about pursuing? Are you leaving money on the table? The answer, if you’re not doing consistent video, is absolutely!

Here’s why. A couple of years ago, I committed to producing 4K ultra HD cinematic listing videos for all of my personal listings. It was a Christian decision, to be honest. I believe all humans deserve the best service, regardless of how much they are paying me. From mobile homes to mansions, we spent money on producing the best quality photos and video for every listing.

However, like many principles, they sometimes have unintended consequences. I started getting more calls from strangers asking me to list their home, and to help them buy a house. Where were they coming from? How did they find me?

What I found is that these clients were seeing my listing videos on Facebook or Zillow and thinking “I want that kind of agent representing me.” I was starting to gain a reputation as a professional in my space, all because of a commitment to deliver high quality video. What started out as just a video for marketing my client’s listings, quickly turned into brand growth and recognition for my company.

As a bonus, when I went on these “cold” listing appointments, I never lost when going up against other agent interviews. When sellers listed their home, they always listed with me. Why? Because the other agents showed up with just the standard listing materials: comps, numbers and photos. The sellers saw my listing presentation and professional videos and in their mind, there was no comparison. All three agents are charging the same commission, but only one agent (me) is spending money on high quality videos and photos that will sell their home faster and for top dollar. Choosing me was a no brainer for the sellers.

Bottom line, video marketing has been a game changer for my business all because of the decision to shoot quality cinematic videos for every listing. I went from $250K in GCI to $500k in just two years and you can too. What I’ve learned is that the investment of $20-30k a year in production costs yielded $200-$250k in new business. That’s more than 733% ROI.

The overall takeaway is if you make the investment in your clients, your business will undoubtedly flourish. I’ve experienced it firsthand in my business and know the same can happen for you.

Jason Crittenden – Jason Crittenden Team at Realty ONE Group and CEO of PERMANENT ESTATE Media

Tax season is here but there’s still time to get a few more deductions in for 2018!

Tax season is here but there is still time to get a few more deductions in for 2018! Did you know that you can still make a donation to your favorite charity and get a credit for your 2018 taxes? Need help deciding on a worthy cause? There are several amazing organizations here in Arizona with the Chandler Compadres being one that is near and dear to my heart. If you have any questions about the Charitable Organization Credit, feel free to give me a call and I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Here are a few online resources with more tax deductions tips and information:

AZ Department of Revenue

AZ Charitable & School Tax Credits

– Matt Askland, 480-759-1500

 

 

Real Estate Video Marketing: You Need It and Here’s Why

Video Marketing is more important than ever for Real Estate Professionals in 2019 and there are several reasons why.  We will start with a few stats and move to the heart and soul of why video is taking over the industry.

-Instagram recently reported 500 million people watch Stories every day.

-YouTube has 2 billion monthly active users.

– LinkedIn is rolling out live video.

-Video marketers get 66% more qualified leads per year.

-Video marketers achieve a 54% increase in brand awareness.

What’s the key take away? Around two-thirds of marketers are using videos for marketing; you can’t afford to be left out. Also, humans retain 58% more information when we are shown HOW to do something.

I would like to share some valuable info from our friends over at Hub Media. They are leaders in the real estate video world and I have seen their success stories first hand.

Most real estate agents are using some variety of video in their business whether that be Facebook live or professional cinematic home tours, but using video is something still relatively new to many agents. Facebook Is the logical place to put your videos when marketing properties for sale but there is a problem: FB is a horrible search engine, it’s hard enough for you to find a post you did on your own page a few weeks ago so imagine how challenging it can be for others to find your best content. Facebook is a place where consumers discover content by accident where as other platforms like Google and YouTube are on purpose.  Real estate agents need to clearly establish their value in the eyes of the consumer by creating high quality, unique and valuable content consumers are searching for online.

 Video is very effective when used properly to educate and inform consumers, market properties for sale, build brands and much more. Whether you are a savvy video pro or just getting your toes wet, there are some videos that are essential for every real estate professional.

 1.The Home Page/About Us Video – Personally connect with potential prospects and customers

2.Tips and How To Videos – Show your expertise and experience without bragging.

3.The Community Video – Most know which community they want to live in. These not only show your expertise on a community but also to help you get found online.

4.Testimonial Videos – These are the 21st century version of the written testimonial and are the ultimate form of social proof which humans are easily influenced by.

5.Cinematic Property Tour Video – This video will help the consumer mentally move in to the property, and because the real estate agent is in the video introducing the property it is priceless face time at the exact moment the consumer cares most about what you have to say!

6.Facebook Live Videos – When it comes to marketing, your product (YOU) needs to be at a place everyone visits frequently. Facebook is where we accidentally discover content. Facebook live videos, when done effectively, can create valuable engagement.

7.Video Email – This shows the personal side of you, bringing consumers closer. Did you know people are 80% more likely to do business with people they can see compared to only speaking on the phone or through email?

Real estate agents are busy and this may seem like a lot to take on, but believe me, it is worth it. Video marketing can change your business, which will change your life. Vacations, retirement? Video will help get you there.  For more information on video marketing, please visit Hub Media’s blog https://hubmediacompany.com/blog/ or reach out to them at 480.223.8113. They would love to help.

Fall in Love With Your Home Again

Loan Options for those Looking to Downsize

(5 min read)

Over the past decade, Baby Boomers (those born from 1944 to 1964) have been the generation to watch both as consumers and home buyers.  Although a shift is taking place and many industries (including real estate) are beginning to focus on the Millennial generation – their housing needs, preferences and purchasing behavior — the Boomers still represent a significant portion of overall home sellers and buyers in 2019. Why? With their children out of the house, many Boomers are looking to downsize.

While they may be looking to transition into smaller homes, they still expect the same high-end amenities, finishes and offerings that come standard in a larger multifamily residence, and complements their modern, active lifestyle.

In this article, we’re sharing a couple of tips for those Baby Boomers looking to downsize, as well as mortgage options that complement their next forever home.

Reverse Mortgages

Reverse Mortgages hit the scene in 1961 and really gained popularity in 2018. It is a type of loan available to homeowners that are 62 years of age or older and have a high amount of equity built up in their current home. Borrowers are not required to make monthly principal and interest payments to their bank or lender, as they would be required to do with a traditional purchase or refinance mortgage. Instead, their bank or lender pays them in a lump sum(s) or via a line of credit based on their home’s equity.

Why is this a good option for the Modern Boomer? Picture a couple that would love to find a smaller home with less maintenance, etc.  They no longer need to live in the best school district and want a lifestyle that allows them the freedom to travel and be more active. The amount of equity they have in their current home, although high, may not allow them to buy a small house or townhome outright because of their desired area’s higher home values.  A reverse mortgage would allow them the opportunity to purchase the home they want, and still have money left over to travel because they are receiving their equity as additional income vs. rolling it into a traditional purchase.

 

Condos

Many of today’s higher-end condo communities offer a variety of upscale amenities to complement their convenient location and accessibility – making it  a very desirable option for the modern Boomer. However, it has been difficult in the past to acquire a loan on a condo because of factors like community occupancy percentage (how many units are owner occupied versus investment properties) and HOA status – including financial reserves and arrearages. Good news, tools like Freddie Macs Condo Project Advisor now lets the buyer request unit-level exceptions for existing condominium projects early in the loan origination process so condo sales and financing are more streamlined.

There are many finance options available to homebuyers looking to downsize.  If you have questions regarding any of the loan programs mentioned above, be sure to contact a Cardinal Financial expert today at 480-759-1500 and we’ll be happy to assist in finding your client a solution that works best for their lifestyle.

Tips for Choosing the Right Realtor

(2 min read)

Tips For Choosing the Right Realtor

A record number of Americans are gearing up to buy their first homes.  This is a big decision that can bring a lot of questions including the big one. How do I choose the right realtor? We can help with that! Read below for simple tips that will help you find the best real estate agent.  Here’s a hint: the tools you need are actually right in front of you.

 

Ask Around

Just like recommending your favorite local coffee shop, word of mouth recommendations are still the best way to go to begin curating your list. Ask friends and family for realtor references especially if they are recent buyers. It’s important to note that just because a realtor might have been a good fit for someone you know, they still may not be the right one for you.

 

Find Your Neighborhood

Decide on the areas that you are interested in living in and narrow down your potential realtor list based on that.  You can research this online or drive those neighborhoods and take note of the realtors selling homes there. Working with an agent who has experience in successful sales in the area you want to live will put you several steps ahead.

 

Google!

It’s time to find out more about your potential prospects. Do a few Google searches to get to know their online persona.  As a first time home buyer, pick a realtor who is experienced and knowledgeable, but also current and fresh. Does it seem like they know the area you are interested in?  If they have a website, is it modern and up-to-date? Are they active on social media and post regularly? Do they offer relevant content that is helpful and coincides with your vision? A realtor who takes the time to continue learning about the growing market trends is someone you want on your side.

 

Be a Boss

Make a list of real estate questions that are important to you regarding your house hunt.  Ask them to explain the home buying process and add anything that you expect from your realtor (i.e. preferred method of communication, how often you would like updates).  Being honest about your expectations from the beginning will pave the way for a smooth buying experience. Meet your potential realtor for coffee or just give them a quick call. Do you feel that they are genuine in the advice and information they are offering you? Are they approachable and outgoing? Someone who is outgoing is most likely confident and confidence is definitely a characteristic you want when choosing a realtor. At the end of the day, go with your gut. And remember, they work for you.

Buying a first home is a significant milestone. Take your time when selecting who will help you make this major financial and emotional decision. Just don’t forget to have fun and enjoy this time, too! You’re only a first-time home buyer once!

If you need help finding the right realtor for you, call us.  Cardinal Financial AZ has worked closely with hundreds of realtors and will be able to recommend the right fit for you. Call 480-759-1500 or email matt.askland@cardinalfinancial.com to talk about your options!

Top 5 Marketing Trends for Realtors in 2019

(5-minute read)

In this ever-changing digital landscape, marketing professionals recognize that online marketing will continue to be one of the most important channels for your overall marketing strategy moving into 2019.

With all of the advancements in video, live streaming, predictive analytics, messenger bots, etc., social media marketing continues to be one of the most prominent tools when it comes to marketing your business online. However, several things have changed in the past year. Social media algorithms have transformed, Facebook announced the decline in organic reach for business/brand pages, Instagram began deleting “fake accounts” and removing likes and comments from those who were using third party apps and bots to inauthentically engage with their followers, and brands are being asked to produce more genuine and engaging content now more than ever.

So, what does all of this mean for Realtors? We’ve put together a list of the top five real estate marketing trends we see as being key for real estate agents in 2019.

1. Virtual Open Houses
With everything becoming digitalized, virtual open houses provide massive exposure and should be at the top of your to-do list in 2019. One advantage of virtual open houses is that only serious buyers will inquire about viewing the property in person. Video marketing is key, whether it is a professional video or quick segment from your phone.

2. Automated Marketing
Make your life easier with programs that automate tasks like emails, social media posts, text messages, and website chatbots. Time block an hour each week to set up content and you are done! For more information, take a look at the 7 Marketing Automation Tools That Could Change Your Small Business by Forbes.

3. Content Creation
The internet is chocked full of the same information. 2019 is your time to shine! We recommend updating your professional website to include more personal information. Your bio is a great place to differentiate yourself by sharing personal interests, hobbies and passions, as well as include your listings, client testimonials, social media channels, videos and a blog section.

The blog should consist of topics that are customized to your specific area or niche. Think about what clients typically ask you and then fulfill their needs through your blog with helpful tips, articles and links. For example, create content about the schools in the area, transportation, or what amenities the neighborhood offers (best coffee shops, patios, happy hour, dog parks, etc.)

4. Refreshed Email Marketing
Take a look at your 2018 email marketing campaigns and note what performed well and what did not. Did certain subject lines produce exceptional open rates? Did a particular format get more clicks than others? Once you establish those points, adjust your current email marketing strategy to reach your audience more effectively.

Ensure your campaigns are mobile friendly and that you are personalizing your email content based on data from website visits, purchase history, and email preferences. Finally, remember that the quality of your email marketing campaigns always trump quantity.

5. Authentic Social Media
Customers do business with people they know, like and trust. Clients are interested in getting to know who you are as a professional and as a person. It’s not only about promoting the properties you want to sell, but it’s also about educating them on who you are and showcasing your personality.

By being genuine and engaging in your posts, you will create the right audience following. Post encouraging reviews from customers to demonstrate that you have experience working with real people who made successful purchases. When using stories to promote an open house or new listing, show your face, use your voice to describe the space, and look professional.

I hope you found this information helpful. By turning these trends into action, I am sure your real estate business with thrive in 2019.

What do you see as being an important or emerging marketing trend for real estate? Let us know in the comments below!

What’s Keeping You From Buying?

7 Tips for Negotiating Without a Real Estate Agent - myarizonaloan.com

Are you looking to buy a home in 2019 but worried about finding a lender that can work with your situation? Maybe you are self-employed and think you won’t fit into a cookie cutter loan program. Mortgage loans are not one size fits all and Cardinal Financial understands that better than anyone. We have smart solutions for just about any circumstance and are here to help!

Income & The D Word (DEBT)
Many prospective buyers believe that your credit score is a deal breaker when purchasing a home. That is not the case! Your monthly debt to income ratio (aka DTI) is also a significant factor. You get this number by dividing your total monthly debt by your total monthly income before deductions. The DTI golden rule is to keep your debt at less than 50% of your income. And just like a golf score, the lower the better!

The Dreaded FICO Score
A lot of credit cards, car loans, etc can make getting a mortgage more difficult but definitely not impossible! The goal is to keep your balance at less than 50% of your credit limit on each card. Helpful Hint: Don’t open or close any trade lines prior to getting pre-qualified and throughout the entire loan process. A Cardinal Financial Loan Adviser will let you know when it is ok to make any changes to your credit.

Credit History Haunting You
Don’t dwell on the past! Lenders mainly concentrate on your last two years of credit and rental history. So you can breathe easy; no one is digging for a skeleton in your closet!

Down Payment Stress
Good news! There are several sources of down payment assistance. Did you know that you can borrow directly from your 401K? And when you borrow from yourself, it will not affect your credit score. With an FHA loan, all you need as a down payment is 3% from your 401K.

Qualifying for a loan is easier than you think! And when you work with Cardinal Financial, the possibilities are endless. With our experience, knowledge and creativity we have all of the tools to help you find the right loan. So start that 2019 Pinterest Future Home board and pin away!

To learn more or if you are looking for a great lender contact us! We are always available at 480-759-1500.

Real Estate Agents: 3 Steps For End Of Year Goal Planning

As the end of year approaches, many begin looking to define their next year’s goals. Recent studies show that about 3% of adults have clearly written goals and accomplish 5 to 10 times more than those who do not. Goal setting not only allows you to take control of your life’s direction, it also provides you a benchmark for determining whether you are actually succeeding.

As someone who has been actively business planning for 10+ years, I can personally attest to the power of the physical act of writing down a goal. It helps clarify the things you truly want to accomplish; and by writing it down, you no longer have an excuse to forget about it.

First things first, to accomplish your goals, you need to know how to set them; but, don’t worry, in this article, we’re sharing three steps that will allow you to formulate goals that you can accomplish.

Step 1: Set Your Goals

Identify clear, concise and SMART goals that motivate you. (SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound) In more specific terms, your goals must be clear and well defined, include precise figures and dates, are possible to achieve, are aligned with the direction you want your personal and professional life to take, must include a deadline and, last but not least, must be written down so that they inspire you to take action.

Step 2: Create a Business Action Plan

Now that you’ve identified and written down your goals, it’s time to put a plan in place to achieve them. To get yourself into the business planning mindset, start by conducting a review of your current or previous year. Some great questions to ask yourself: What did I accomplish? What are some road blocks or challenges that got in my way? What opportunities did I miss? What did I learn? It is important to review what worked last year and to know your basic numbers (i.e. average days on market, listing to sale ratios) before you begin planning for the year ahead. Once you know your stats, begin writing down the individual tasks you need to carry out to achieve your objective, and in the order you need to complete them. Keep this list close by so that you can easily mark off tasks as you complete them.

Step 3: Track & Measure Your Results

How do you know if what you’re doing is yielding positive results? Using a suitable tracking system – whether that be a simple tracking form or a CRM platform to record your results – will allow you to track your progress and make necessary corrections throughout the year.

I hope you found these points helpful. By following these three steps, I am confident you can set goals with certainty and enjoy the satisfaction that comes along with knowing you achieved what you set out to do.  If you’d like a copy of the forms I use for my personal and business goal setting, please email me at matt.askland@cardinalfinancial.com and I’ll be happy to share them with you. Good luck!