Fear based lending?

I think I’ve decided that I like MY role in a real estate transaction better than the role of the Loan Originator.

Why?

Of course, there are frustrations and delays and unpleasant surprises along the way in most transactions these days . . . and the burden is on me to “handle”/manage all of the sundry personalities and quirks of Buyers, sellers, other REALTORS, Lenders, Title Companies, Appraisers, Inspectors, repair companies, underwriters . . . as many as 42 different people involved in each transaction. Somehow, I feel fortunate to be the one orchestrating 42 people and all of the juggling it sometimes takes to keep things moving forward.

My relationships (as REALTOR) tend to be deeper with the “end Client” – The Buyer and/or Seller than all of those other 41 people because I am on the front line with them . . . The Quarterback.

The Loan Originator is standing in a fire of uncertainty these days. The complexity of her job begins with the fact that she needs to have a higher volume of customers to make a living and therefore seldom has the time to foster deep relationships. Her client relationship is more (by definition) transactional.

I met with one of my favorite Loan Originators a few days ago towards the end of the day. He had taken 23 (TWENTY THREE) loan applications that day. Do you think he forged any deep relationships that day?

So Lenders begin with the “handicap” of the need for higher volume with less time to build rapport and trust dealing with the largest financial event of most client’s lives . . . and then, WHAMMO!

NOW . . . The entire transaction seems to always hinge on the financing. Even the most simple and clean deals can become quagmires these days.

Why?

Federal Regulations are changing (it seems) every hour on the hour. They are either changing or they are still being interpreted in different ways on different days.

Were you aware that the “Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act” signed into law in July is 2,300 pages of written obscurity? Yes! TWO THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED pages of government regulations for “oversight of Financial Institutions”.

WOW!

Good luck sifting through that mess and feeling good about being able to stay in compliance.

The Lenders are operating in a Fear Based environment, and that is wreaking havoc in virtually every real estate transaction.

Heard recently . . . a loan originator commented that Mortgage Lenders are now becoming hesitant to write “Loan Commitment Letters” because in this fluid environment even the best looking loan can come unglued by some random anomaly that could show up day before closing. These Lenders and underwriters are so scared they’ll misstep that they are “erring on the side of caution” and turning most loans into mini “Federal Investigations”.

The problem with the Commitment Letters is that if the loan does fail . . . the SELLERS are now beginning to take legal action on the lenders saying: “YOU said this loan was solid, so I am going to hold you personally accountable for its failure and the damage that has been done.”

RIDICULOUS!

What can we do about all of this?

Here’s what i know to do . . . continue to do business diligently. Put on a set of “blinders” such that all of that peripheral garbage noise doesn’t pollute my resolute determination to do what i am here to do . . . Best serve the needs of my Sellers and Buyers of homes.

Oh!

and I love and appreciate the loan originators with whom I work because I understand their discomfort and pressure.

so . . .

Go out there and hug a loan originator today and seek to understand when things go weird with a loan. Don’t be just another REALTOR or client screaming at them for something over which they couldn’t possibly have any measure of control.

I think I rambled today . . .

I’m just sayin’

Best,

b

PS: Pareto Realty continues to build – a cornerstone of our strength as an excellent Real Estate Sales firm is our relationships with vendors (including Lenders) in our local Nashville community. They are our business partners, and we understand the value of treating them as such.

Logo Design – Branding yourself

Businesses put a LOT of effort into what they do (how they serve their customers), and I would say that all businesses began with a vision of what the Business should look like.

I believe that when it comes to marketing, the LOOK and FEEL of the businesses (as a first impression) is almost as important as the quality of the services it provides.

This look and feel begins (IMHO) with the NAME of the company. think of some of the brands you see every day – Coke, Nike, Chevy, Ford . . . Odds are good that as you read those, you visualized the look of their logo.

But . . . What do those words mean, and how does that meaning relate to the product (if at all)? Do they need to?

I considered this when naming Pareto Realty. I could have called it “Barry Owen and Associates Real Estate services” . . . too long . . . Boring . . . and loses a lot of the meaning if/when Barry Owen dies.

I’d like to think that Pareto Realty will outlive me. It IS a Corporation and certainly CAN survive my passing, so should the name.

Therefore, the “Brand” is Pareto – the Vital Few. there’s not a person who has heard this name and PAUSED and asked: Why “Pareto”? That sure gives me a great opportunity to tell the story of the origin of the company.

People love to do business with companies that have interesting stories 🙂

What about the actual image of the brand – the logo?

Consistency: Companies build their following with consistency. Once the logo and COLORS of the company are decided, they should NEVER change. I saw a BEAUTIFULLY restored Limo at the Greek Festival this past weekend . . . Had a crowd of people around it . . . EVERYONE there knew it was a Cadillac. Why? Because of the Emblem on the hub caps and the Hood ornament – It was a 1962 Model – Cadillac still has that same logo 48 years later.

Simplicity – Just like a billboard . . . the less clutter, the more effective . . . the average person has @ 6 seconds to take in what it says/means . . . and a person has to see it at least 3 times before they remember (so says my wife Debbie whose background is full of marketing)

Inspire curiosity – The logo must have meaning beyond the surface. Perhaps it says something about the origin or roots of the concept of the company (Pareto – 20/80 Principle – The vital few) . . . or something as simple as the name of the founding family’s dog . . . or a mascot (Titan). When people see your logo, the best thing that could happen is that they ask . . .

POPs from 1/4 mile away – Recognizable and READABLE . . . consistent LOOK and it should POP 3 dimensionally such that anyone who sees it anywhere knows what it is and what it stands for.

Uniform Colors – I’ve seen some local real estate firms who have uniform color guidelines but very little consistency of signage out there . . . Some are Black, some red, a few green . . . and the only consistent look of it is a scripted logo that’s sometimes difficult to read within 25 feet . . . but it’s a very pretty script. Pareto Realty’s colors are Green and Blue . . . and very specific shades of green and blue.

Our logo is still in design stages. We are already open for business and don’t feel like we have the perfect logo yet, so here’s what we’re doing . . . We begin with this:

 

and are playing around in the sand box. Our Son tyler did this last night

a bit blurry – I stretched it

Deb has done several . . . and yes, we have hired a professional.

Bottom line for me . . . Every business has a unique look and feel and story . . . and the logo is your first opportunity to tell that story. This is ONE thing that merits doing RIGHT on the front end.

OBTW – If you’re an independent contractor, this also applies to YOUR business . . . Just be sure that whatever you do is acceptable to your firm.

I’m just sayin’

Best,

b

Monday Morning Coffee – Whenever it starts is the right time!

Today is the day I saddle up and ride into town to visit the Tennessee Real Estate Commission to acquire the new firm license for Pareto Realty, LLC.

Sure! There’s some trepidation, and I have had several people ask me questions like:

“How could you even THINK about opening a new real estate firm in times like these?”

“How do YOU know how to do all of this setting up a company stuff?”

“How sure are you that your concept will succeed?”

There have been times when I’ve asked myself these questions and the truth is that my vision of what this company represents in the landscape of Real Estate Firms across the lands has been consistent and unwavering. I SO believe in this concept of creating a home for “The Vital Few” REALTORS whose commitment in life and business is one of performance, that I have had little fear of gaining enough traction to get this baby off the ground . . . Even in the worst of times.

In my view, “performance” is about a LOT more than how many sales a professional completes . . . it’s about finding a personal and professional rhythm such that life is in a state of FLOW . . . with fluidity and agility and ease of adaptation in an ever-transforming environment.

What better time to introduce an “animal” like this than a time of uncertainty?

Pareto Realty will be an anchor, a home base, a safe place, a harbor . . . where folks can come to rejuvenate and re-supply, and re-tool, and find camaraderie with other professionals of like mind.

Our office (when completed) is designed to be a “Mini-Google office” . . . Check out this video tour to catch the flavor

So . . . How do I know how to do all of this?

Funny thing is . . . I don’t . . . I started with this big vision because every one of my mentors has always told me that great things comes from taking responsibility for what you care about . . . and are fueled by pure passion.

My Father Harrison Owen developed a concept known as Open Space Technology (which he says is simply something he discovered that is always (and always has been) present in the world). His premise is that everything is in perpetual transformation and the world is one in which self-organization is the natural order of business.

the “problem” with humans is that they keep getting in the way of self-organization by their incessant (egotistical) need to CONTROL what simply cannot be controlled.

Open Space Technology has 4 Principles:

Whoever comes are the right people

Whenever it starts is the right time

Whatever happens is the only thing that could have

When it’s over, It’s OVER

and 1 Law – the Law of 2 Feet

If at any time you find yourself in a place where you are neither contributing nor receiving anything of value than it is YOUR responsibility to take yourself to a place where you CAN contribute and/or receive.

I also tend to mix in the ideas from Angeles Arrien with her fourFold Way

The Way of the Warrior or Leader is to show up, or choose to be present. (Take Responsibility)

The Way of the Healer or Caretaker is to pay attention to what has heart and meaning. (Follow Passion)

The Way of the Visionary or Creative Problem Solver is to tell the truth without blame or judgment. (Be Authentic)

The Way of the Teacher or Counselor is to be open to outcome, not attached to outcome. (Let it go)

Optimum health is expressed in most cultures as a balance in all four areas: Leading, Healing, Visioning, and Teaching.

so . . .

What I’ve learned from all of this is that when the vision of something is clear and passion is high, we tend to worry less about how we are going to get “there” . . . Some folks would say it’s dependent upon “Faith” or luck . . . that we just turn it over to God . . . which goes right back to Dad’s notion that when we stop trying to be so darned controlling of everything, things WILL simply happen through self-organization.

Besides . . . Isn’t luck when preparation meets opportunity?

It’s never crossed my mind that Pareto Realty will not succeed because of the roots from which it derives. I believe the right people will show up . . . that this is EXACTLY the right time for it . . . Excitement is high . . . and the “status quo” is OVER with respect the way things have always been in this market and economy.

I say that in times like these – If you have an itch . . . SCRATCH IT!

Do you have a vision of something great that you are suppressing “for a better time”?

Have you considered the notion that NOW might be the right time?

I’m just sayin”

Looking forward to serving home Buyers and sellers in Middle Tennessee impeccably and creating the quintessential environment for real estate professionals at Pareto Realty

Best,

b

What are the odds that “Marketing” will build your business?

How many marketing messages do you think the average American see EVERY DAY?

Have you ever considered this?

I googled it . . . Here’s what I found: “The average American is exposed to 247 commercial messages each day.”
Consumer Reports Website

WOW!

Humor me and try this little experiment. Pause your reading of this post and look around you. Count every THING within your range of vision . . . every THING that is not nailed down . . . from the smallest to the largest . . . I’m sitting in my favorite chair in my living room with a partial view of the kitchen . . . I got 234 and the room is not “cluttered”- Over whelming

When you wake up tomorrow morning, COUNT every THING you DO for the first 30 minutes of the day.

With ALL of that “NOISE” in the background, how much space is left in your brain for paying attention to any marketing message that you are not seeking? If you’re in the market for a new car, your reticular activator will filter out all other marketing messages and you will ONLY notice ads for new cars.

So . . .

Do you rely on marketing to fuel your business?

If so . . . how is YOUR marketing message going to show up (get noticed)? What is it about your message that will cause your audience to READ it . . . and then take action?

How much money did you spend on this marketing and what was the return? Is it paying for itself? Can you tie any DIRECT business results to your marketing?

If not . . . Why are you doing it?

Is it an ego trip? Do you just do it so you can see yourself on that Billboard every day as you drive to office . . . or on that grocery cart every time you shop for food . . . or on the pharmacy bag when you buy your prescriptions?

Are you doing it to please your customers or clients? Many REALTORS admit that their display ads in the local newspapers and magazines have ZERO return, but they do them because they are hard evidence (for the seller) that they are doing SOMETHING to market the property.

I don’t buy marketing that doesn’t work.

I believe that any money I spend should be an INVESTMENT . . . not so much that it always yields a financial return as that it “does its job”. I buy a couch for comfort, aesthetic appeal, durability . . . I buy a car to take me places reliably . . . I go to a restaurant for the ambiance, the food taste and consistency, and convenience . . . If the return (experience) I get doesn’t meet my needs, I “fire” it and invest my money elsewhere.

Same thing with marketing.

so . . . How DO you bring business to your business?

Begin with knowing whose wants and needs your business has the best chance of fulfilling.

WHO IS YOUR CUSTOMER? 

Now consider WHERE this customer is?

How does your customer prefer to communicate?

Now . . . Knowing all of the above . . . What ACTION can you take to bring your business within the range of view for this customer?

this action may include some component of marketing . . . but that’ll never work in a big way unless you lead with a serious dose of intentional and DIRECT interpersonal communication. You’ve gotta dive into their pond and swim with them, or you’re just another one of those “247 commercial messages each day”.

I’m just sayin’

Best,

b

OBTW – ummm . . . This message also applies to personal relationships 🙂

Are you still alive?

That might be a question I would have of a family member who I haven’t heard from in a while.

In my Family (Which is a very eclectic mix from Episcopalian including a Bishop Grandfather and Priest Father . . . to Catholic where we currently go to church . . . and a whole collage of Jewish relatives on both sides of our families), the question “Are you still ALIVE?” arises as a “Jewish Mother guilt trip”.

My first reaction when that question hits me is one of backpedaling as I feebly attempt to justify my prolonged disappearing act . . . and my response is one of gratitude as it sinks in that I was missed.

How often do we get so busy and self-absorbed that we forget to reach out to those closest to us?

How often do we get in the dumps and start feeling sorry for ourselves and hide in shame hoping that things will just magically sort themselves out?

I hope I’m preaching to the choir and not just baring my own soul in a moment of transparency . . . I know that we all have these moments.

I also know that when those moments occur, I am never in search of a Knight in shining Armor kind of “swoop in and save me from all of these trials and tribulations” person . . . I am always most “saved”  by the person who just shows up out of nowhere and simply says: “Hey! I haven’t seen you in a while and was thinking about you. How are you?”

A sales career is enigmatic in the sense that the best salespeople are the people who are best with interpersonal relationships. These are the folks who are the life of party – funloving – happy-go-lucky . . . Yet most sales people are “Independent contractors” and are solo out in the field.

What this means is that they have LOTS of relationships with many people . . . The only issue being that those relationships have the additional boundary of professionalism . . . these are relatively shallow relationships. To be “transparent” with a customer or client may be viewed as unprofessional.

So . . . It can be very lonely to be a sales person . . . capiche?

This is where the HOME comes into play.

Where have we ALWAYS gone throughout our lives when life sucked?

HOME!

We go home where we know we will be loved unconditionally . . . and will find candid and constructive feed-back. 

I believe that our offices should be this “home” in our professional worlds. If we disappear for a while, who at the office will notice?

I had a conversation with an agent today who said: “I haven’t been to my office more than 3 times in the past 3 months, and nobody’s missed me.”

REALLY?

I think that’s negligence.

In ANY office . . . EVERY associate deserves a level of attention akin to family . . . and if it’s not there? I believe that’s the wrong office for ya.

As Broker @ Pareto Realty, my covenant to all my associates is a quarterly Career Review at a MINIMUM . . . and my invitiation to them is that if they will utilize the CRM tools I provide for them at no cost to them, I will keep an eye on their performance continuously over time . . . and will step in any time I see room for improvement.

There ain’t no excuse for agents falling through the cracks in a Real estate firm . . . that causes much unecessary angst and negatively impacts families and self esteem.

I’m just sayin’

(stepping off the soap box)

Best,

b