Co-Marketing Fees = Higher Rates Always

 A loan officer is making the rounds offering agents $5,000 of co-marketing per closed transaction. I have nothing against the idea or co-marketing in general, but I thought I’d discuss it briefly in a blog, given that several agents have told me about the offer. Co-marketing, as most readers know, is simply an arrangement where […]Read More

Marketing Machine Go BRRRRR/Never Stop = Success In Slow Markets

We work with and/or know numerous “mega” producing agents who do well in all environments and who never seem to be that concerned about slowdowns like we are seeing now. But, what amazes me about those super successful “megas” is how they never turn down their marketing machines no matter how busy they get – and it is something to behold.Read More

What’s In A Company Name? (A Lot It Turns Out)

JVM LENDING’S NAME About 15 years ago during my loan officer days, I was affiliated with a brokerage with an extraordinarily sweet deal that I never would have abandoned but for one reason. I was tipped off that the broker of record was experiencing severe financial and emotional issues that were putting the entire brokerage […]Read More

Is Yelp Dead?

Using Yelp In The Middle Of Nowhere My kids, brothers, nephew, and I take motorcycle trips every summer, and I just got back from our recent excursion through the Colorado Rockies. Everywhere we went, no matter how remote, my nephew would pull out his phone to search Yelp for places to eat – and Yelp […]Read More

Point Of Sale Or Online Loan Application Systems; Why They Matter

I have an acquaintance who sometimes refers to individuals he really disdains as “POSs,” and I always find it odd that he would call someone a “Point of Sale” b/c that is all that POS means to those of us in the mortgage industry. 😊 While the first POS system goes back to 1879 with […]Read More

Why You Should [NOT] Stop Building Your Own Brand

My boss arrived at work in a brand-new Lamborghini. I said, “Wow, that’s an amazing car!” He replied, “If you work hard, put all your hours in, and strive for excellence, I’ll get another one next year.” I thought of that joke when I read this article in Inman recently: Why You Should Stop Building […]Read More

Finding Sellers/Listings With A.I. – Why We Know It Works

I touted Predictive Analytics and A.I. to find potential sellers numerous times last year and early this year b/c it is clearly so effective. This blog from February is just one example. I tout Revaluate in particular because they are so inexpensive and effective. I am revisiting this topic now though b/c we recently put […]Read More

Your Digital Footprint & Reputation – Again; More Important Than Ever!

A “CEO Coach” recently reached out to me on LinkedIn. We had mutual connections and his pitch was quite enticing, so I googled him. And – his digital footprint was lacking, so I quickly moved on. This reminded me of our own Digital Audits for our Agent Partners and how extremely important they are in […]Read More

Innovating In Boom Times; 50 Companies That Died Because They Didn’t

We constantly get “recruited” by large mortgage banks that want JVM to affiliate with them (b/c they want our volume, reputation and/or trade secrets). The pitches always fascinate us b/c they often tout their nebulous “support” (something we don’t need) and growth, but who isn’t growing in this market? (all we ever want is extremely […]Read More

Viewing Client/Borrower Status in Real Time – from Application to Close; Why People Love Uber

WHAT MAKES UBER SO POPULAR? Uber is popular for several reasons: (1) it allows people to call for a ride no matter where they are, without having to wait for a taxi to drive by; (2) there is no payment “friction” when the ride ends – passengers can just hop out of the car; and […]Read More

The Tale of Two Lenders – Who Really Pays the Cost of Co-Marketing?

We were approached last year by an extremely successful leader of a large team of real estate agents – together they close dozens of transactions every MONTH! The leader asked me if we were willing to co-market for online leads to the tune of about $20,000 per month, as that is what his current lender […]Read More

The Importance of Life Events & Big Data – One More Time

We hosted a large Tech Expo recently and we had two presenters discuss the importance of “life events” again. I have discussed this numerous times now but want to hit again simply because the topic is so important; because data is so much more accessible now; and because the data can help ALL of us […]Read More

Simple Tech Solutions That Work! Insights from Top Agent Who Uses Them

I have attended hundreds of symposiums, talks, seminars, expos and events of every sort over the last 30 years – giving me more than enough exposure to learn what types of events are the most interesting and rewarding. The events I like the most are: (1) short overall (a few hours at most); (2) comprised […]Read More

Apology to Coldwell Banker! Rent Back & Max Financed Property Reminders

I want to extend my sincerest apology to Coldwell Banker, and particularly to all of the excellent Coldwell Banker agents we get to work with regularly! On Monday, I blogged about the shutdown of an excellent brokerage and brand (Climb) and my only point was to remind agents of the importance of fully establishing their […]Read More

Major Brokerage Shutdown in Bay Area – Biggest Lesson?

Realogy to shutter Climb, integrate it into Coldwell Banker That was the Inman headline and news that shocked the Bay Area last week. It was so shocking b/c Climb has done a beautiful job building a formidable brand in the Bay Area since its inception in 2010. We at JVM had been watching it closely […]Read More

Getting Good Reviews; Avoiding Bad Reviews; Best Platforms for Reviews

I love it when clients flame me or JVM about pretty much anything for two reasons: If they are flaming me directly, they are not doing so publicly on social media; and We use every morsel of feedback we get to constantly improve everything we do. We frequently discuss the importance of garnering authentic, five-star […]Read More

Online Reviews Losing Value/Can’t Be Trusted – Major Problem!

BIG COMPANY WITH BAD REVIEWS TRIED TO RECRUIT JVM A few years ago, a large nationwide mortgage bank was trying to recruit us. They had amazing technology and a very interesting CEO, so my wife Heejin and I agreed to meet with them to see what they had to offer. We researched the company prior […]Read More

Only 12% of Clients Use Their Agent Again! How To Stem the Loss

I recently sat on a tech panel where some fascinating survey results were shared. 88% of all homeowners surveyed said they would use their real estate agent again if they bought or sold a home. AND….. Only 12% of homeowners actually did. In other words, most agents are not tapping into their most valuable resource […]Read More

The Super Importance of a Well Crafted Bio!!

NOTE: Despite the cut in the Fed Funds Rate on Wednesday by the Fed, mortgage rates still remain at least 1/4% higher than where they were a few weeks ago. We frequently assist our agent partners with the enhancement of their “Digital Footprint.” An agent’s digital footprint is basically what potential clients see when they […]Read More

Big Companies Use A.I. to Push Customer Abuse to Its Limit; Lessons?

“Everyone Hates Customer Service” was the title of a recent and fascinating WSJ article about large companies using Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) to abuse customers right up to the point where they’re ready to leave for a competitor. It is only at that point that the companies will bend to a customer’s wishes in order to […]Read More

Technology Working – Finally! Small Businesses Can Compete With Big!

SOFTWARE FIRM HONORS PROMISES – 20 YEARS LATE I frequently tell a story about a huge mortgage software company (now the biggest in the industry) that came to me in the late 1990s, offering me online app tools, drop-down fee schedules, awesome user-interfaces, customer portals, and everything else. And – 20 years later, they finally […]Read More

Predictive Analytics – Why You Need Them

On Friday I blogged about life events that influence a decision to move and big data and mentioned that I’d elaborate on Predictive Analytics today. I mentioned also that we used to work with SmartZip (the true Predictive Analytics pioneer) and that we have four team members who worked for SmartZip for years. So, we […]Read More

Glassdoor (Workplace Reviews) for Talent and Customers!

When someone Googles “JVM Lending” two of the most prominent search results are our Glassdoor reviews – and nothing could make me happier! Glassdoor is an extremely popular website where former and current team members share anonymous reviews. And team-member-reviews can often say far more about a company than all of its marketing and customer-reviews […]Read More

Nasty Fake Yelp Review – Follow Up; Yelp Horror Stories; Poor Yelp :)

I received so much feedback from yesterday’s blog that I felt compelled to follow up today. The responses were so overwhelmingly anti-Yelp, that I actually thought to myself: “poor Yelp” 😊 Yelp is, however, not exactly “poor,” as they apparently net anywhere from $10 to $20 million per quarter (although recent data was suspiciously hard […]Read More

Angry Competitor Gives Us Nasty Fake “One-Star” Yelp Review :)

Back in the olden days (circa 2004), when loan officers ran up against tough competition they had to buckle down and offer lower rates and better service to compete. In 2019, not so much. Now they just leave nasty fake Yelp reviews. What is amusing is that the loan officer clearly didn’t do his homework […]Read More

Your Clients Will Google You, And You’re Losing Them

We work with an agent who closes 150 transactions per year, and her “Google presence” is practically perfect. While her Google presence is not the only reason she does so much business, it is a major contributor. When people Google just her name (and nothing else), the search results literally dominate page 1 of Google. […]Read More

The Main Step To Becoming a Social Media Influencer

I watched WFG Title’s “Ten Steps to Becoming a Social Media Influencer” yesterday, and step #1 was the best by far! Every Realtor and Lender should become an “influencer” of sorts b/c it all but guarantees a loyal referral base. A Social Media Influencer is a user on social media who has established credibility in […]Read More

Get More Deals by Telling Millennials They’re Uncool :)

There is a light bulb in Livermore, CA that has been burning since 1901! It was illuminated (no pun intended 😊)  in this recent Planet Money Podcast. Comically, the NPR reporter flew all the way to Livermore to look at it when she could have just googled it here. She pointed out how lightbulb manufacturers […]Read More

Eliminating Friction – Most Important Value Proposition?

The avoidance of “friction” is becoming one of the most important value propositions a business can offer. Uber, Amazon, PayPal, Venmo, iTunes, Instacart, TaskRabbit, and ZipRecruiter are great examples of businesses that exploded solely b/c they eliminated friction (they made shopping, securing services, and making payments vastly easier). Even more traditional companies have mastered eliminating […]Read More

JVM’s Hiring – The Most Talented People in The World :)

We are often asked how we so consistently foster such great client experiences. And while it is partly a result of our training, systems and culture, it is mostly b/c we hire extraordinarily talented people. And right now, b/c we are growing so quickly, we are aggressively looking for additional qualified candidates. Our current compensation […]Read More

Post Close Client Touches – Homebot Part II

“Hey Jay, Just wanted to let you know that I love this tool. Truth is I actually look forward to it. I like the perspective. Really good business idea. Keep it coming. Thanks! Nick” The above quote is one of many similar comments we get from our past clients in regard to Homebot. I blogged about […]Read More

Rethinking Yelp – Why We Hate Them and Love Them

Here is an irony – some of the worst reviews on Yelp are of Yelp. They average two stars, and you can see them here. Credit to Yelp for not filtering them. WHY WE HATE YELP We hate Yelp b/c they seem to randomly filter our best reviews, they charge a fortune for their advertising […]Read More

When “Pa” Didn’t Wear Underwear; Authenticity In Marketing

My daughter recently had me read a fascinating book called Prairie Fires. It was basically the “true story” about Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of all the “Little House” books. It turns out that the “Little House” books were almost entirely fictional and just carefully edited for mass read appeal; they were all about “a […]Read More

Digital Marketing Is NOT What You Think It Is

We work with an agent who closed 140 transactions over the last year, totaling over $100 million in sales. And when you google her, she literally dominates Page 1 of the search results, with everything popping up – Yelp, Google Reviews, Zillow, Reach 150,, Google Business Info, LinkedIn, her website, etc. Is this the […]Read More

Marketing Person or Someone in the Trenches On Your IT Team?

FINTECH COMPANY FORGETS TO ATTRACT CUSTOMERS A close friend of ours was the Chief Product Officer at a prominent fintech mortgage lender in Silicon Valley. The firm was very impressive, consisting of about 70 people, 28 full-time engineers and a war-chest full of VC money (about $70 million). They used all that money and all […]Read More

Marketing With Videos – Easier and More Effective Than You Think

ARIZONA’S TALLEST TREE Amanda Lee from our office recently took a Facebook Marketing class, and the teacher, Bill Hillestad, highlighted a prodigy of his teaching named Chris Prickett. Chris is a Realtor in Anthem, AZ who quickly dominated his target market b/c of his effective video marketing via Facebook. His videos are not professionally produced […]Read More

Other Lenders’ Reviews – Horror Stories

READ THE REVIEWS!   We tout our 500+ Five Star Reviews so often, we’re becoming a broken record. So, I’ll resist the urge today (even though I just did it again :), and instead focus on our competitors’ reviews. I am not doing this to just beat up on competitors, as I know that is not […]Read More

Why A Shoe Shine Man Thrives In The Digital Age

My son shared this excellent story about a shoe shine man in his downtown Sacramento building. With Amazon, big tech, big banks and “big” everything else threatening to take over the world, this story is a great reminder of how to not only survive, but to thrive. Long story short – the shoe shine man […]Read More

Digital Marketing Is Hard! We Know B/c We Did It Wrong; Wasted $1,000s

EXPANDING BEYOND THE BAY AREA Last year we decided to expand beyond the Bay Area b/c our value propositions (speed, communication, appraisal quality, etc.) had become so established and effective. DIGITAL MARKETING Our primary goal was to market to Realtors to establish more referral relationships. The only way to do this on a mass scale […]Read More

Mark Cuban: “More Sales Cures All”

RATES AT 2014 LEVELS We have not seen interest rates this high since 2014, and both the mortgage and real estate industries are in panic mode b/c volumes are dropping. MARK CUBAN And, it reminded me of a blog I wrote in 2014 where I quoted something Mark Cuban said – “More Sales Cures All.” […]Read More

Great Tips for More Five Star Reviews! A Necessity!

FIVE STAR REVIEWS ARE AN ABSOLUTELY NECESSITY IN 2018 Numerous five-star reviews are an absolute necessity in 2018. You need them on multiple platforms as well. We sponsored a huge Realtor Mastermind Event on Monday where a gentleman named Cody Gibson (a huge KW producer and coach) spoke. One of the big takeaways was his […]Read More

Leveraging Yourself Virtually with MyOutDesk

We often encourage Realtors to leverage themselves by hiring an assistant, but many are afraid to take the leap. They often have no idea how to hire someone, or they are simply afraid of the overhead. A great solution may be MyOutDesk. MyOutDesk offers highly qualified staffing solutions with candidates from overseas at very affordable […]Read More

How to Optimize Your Facebook Profile For Business Part II

Yesterday, we introduced Nikko’s Sales Blog, and we of course received a lot of great feedback. So, here is Part II of Nikko’s Four Part series on Optimizing Facebook for Business. FROM NIKKO SAENZ: Welcome back! This is the second installation of this blog series. In case you missed Part One of this four-part series, […]Read More

How To Optimize Your Facebook Profile for Business

I raved a few weeks ago about our “Linchpin” Business Development Officer – Nikko Saenz. I mentioned how he literally vacuums up all the sales and marketing books and blogs he can get his hands (or eyes) on. How To Optimize Your Facebook Profile for Business (from Nikko’s Blog) I did not believe it. The […]Read More

You Need a Warm, Visual, Simple Website to Build Trust & Retain Clients; Content’s NOT King

I heard this excellent quote on a podcast yesterday, from a guest quoting her Rabbi: “When I was young, I admired people who were clever; now that I am older, I admire people who are kind.” I love that quote b/c it is another lesson that took me too long to learn. I only now […]Read More

6 Awesome Tips For Facebook Marketing; A Must in 2017

“Facebook is the internet.” I have read or heard that at least ten times in the last two weeks. If that phrase is not yet a cliché to you, you are probably not marketing enough or properly. In 2017, the most effective way to market is via social media, and especially via Facebook, b/c it […]Read More

More Lead Conversions! Speed, Double Dials, Fascinating Info

Most people know that “speed to lead” is everything in sales. But, most people don’t know the actual stats. In his excellent book, The Conversion Code (about Internet Marketing), Chris Smith shares some great data. If you call an internet lead back within five minutes of receiving it, you are 100 times more likely to […]Read More

The “Yield Curve”; What It Is, and Why It Matters

After the 2008 meltdown, almost all of our borrowers insisted on only 30 year fixed rate mortgages b/c so many had heard horror stories about adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs. The ARMs that earned the bad rap, however, were primarily subprime adjustable-rate loans with short 2 year fixed periods and very steep adjustments. The A Paper […]Read More

We Don’t “Mansplain” or “Torture”

We recently received a humorous response on our post-close survey and thought we’d share it. We never “mansplain” and are happy to answer every question a borrower can throw at us. Q7 Please let us know what impressed you in particular about JVM, if anything? Before choosing JVM, I was speaking with another lender. This […]Read More

Real Estate Marketing – Tips; Lunch & Learn Wednesday

We are hosting a Lunch & Learn on Wednesday in Brentwood, CA. Everyone is welcome, and we promise it will be both informative and entertaining (we’ve tested it in front of ecstatic live audiences already :) All of the relevant info can be found here: Eventbrite Link to JVM’s Lunch & Learn on Marketing. Heejin and […]Read More