I Witnessed A Death…

And have to talk about it. And OK – it was the death of a very successful local business, and my subject line is too “click-baity” I realize, but this blog is very timely and interesting, I promise. The business was the local Italian restaurant that I have been visiting frequently for over 25 years. […]Read More

Why’s Inflation Higher in U.S.? Scary LinkedIn Indicator! I Missed Something HUGE!

Today’s blog is a “random show” – hitting a few (really interesting) topics briefly. SOMETHING HUGE I MISSED: RISING INCOMES! In my blog yesterday about putting rising housing payments in perspective, I missed one of the most important points: RISING INCOMES! Incomes have risen sharply since 2015, particularly in the tech world, greatly offsetting the […]Read More

5 Reasons To Get a Home Equity Line Of Credit ASAP

When I was in law school, I clerked for a firm that specialized in commercial litigation. And – the first thing the attorneys did when considering litigation was to ensure the defendant had sufficient assets to go after – should they win a judgment. And a primary asset they looked at was the defendant’s home; […]Read More

When ALL Assets Are Crashing – Make Sure There Is A “There There”

Pets.com famously spent $46 on advertising for every $10 in sales and flamed out in one of the most famous dotcom busts. The model was flawed from the start, and in hindsight it seems obvious that they could never generate profits – but investors bought up the stock by the bushel anyway.Read More

How Allowing For Wife-Abuse in Victorian England Relates to Mortgages and Real Estate

Caroline Sheridan was a brilliant, beautiful and talented society woman in Victorian England in the early 1800s. She was also beaten mercilessly by her very prominent husband (a member of Parliament), who also falsely accused her of adultery, publicly humiliated her in a show trial, and stole her three kids away from her – and […]Read More

When Debt Is a VERY GOOD Thing! (& Why We Love Tradelines)

We often have clients who come to us looking for their first home, very proud that they’ve “never had an ounce of debt” in their “entire life.” No credit cards, no car loan, not a dollar financed – ever. These poor people are then shocked to find out that they can’t finance their first home […]Read More

Elon Musk’s #1 Success Trait (We All Have It)

When my wife Heejin and I started building the JVM Team, our biggest competitors were several members of a coaching group called The Core. It is a great program that focuses on team building, delegation, non-stop prospecting, accountability, lead-tracking – and most importantly – COMPETITION. The Core members know each others’ production numbers and income […]Read More

How Sky-High Stock and Bitcoin Prices Distort The World (Labor Force Participation)

I personally know several men under 50 who have “retired” or left the labor force because their Bitcoin and crypto holdings have made them feel wealthy enough to do so. These guys of course are not unique as there are thousands (maybe millions) of other people who have done the same.Read More

For Better or Worse; When Better’s Not Better (It’s All About Training)

My wife Heejin loves to tell people that she and I would have never been hired by our own company because we don’t come close to meeting the hiring standards. Those standards include stellar academic skills. This is because as soon as we hire someone, we subject them to our “firehose training program” which consists […]Read More

How To Estimate PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance)

An agent asked for this blog in December, and I am finally getting to it but should have done so much sooner because it was a great request! As an aside, if any readers would like to see me blog about something in particular, please feel free to email your requests, as I greatly appreciate […]Read More

Planning Vs. Acting (Learning How to Fish)

BEST TWEET EVER? I recently saw this excellent tweet by a man named “Dickie Bush” (I can’t think of a better name to take advice from 😊). Anyway, Dickie used to be addicted to “planning” – of all things. To quote Dickie: “My brain loved the cheap dopamine of gathering books to read, tasks to […]Read More

Insanely WRONG CATASTROPHIC Predictions

Surprisingly, I got more positive feedback from this recent blog, Insanely WRONG Predictions, than from almost any other I wrote this year. That prompted me to write another blog along the same vein – but to instead focus on all the insanely wrong catastrophes that have been predicted in my lifetime (and that frankly scared […]Read More

We Humans Are Social Creatures – Time To Return To The Office?

A Very Happy Carpet Man We had a carpet repairman come to our home this week. He was almost 70 and still putting in 8 hour days – because he wants to, not because he has to. He was very chatty too and he told me that he just joined a kayak club because his […]Read More

Insanely WRONG Predictions! More Coming Soon; Please Ignore Them :)

CoreLogic predicted home prices would decline by 6.6% in 2021 – and they were off a little. Home prices appreciated by almost 20% in 2021! What makes this enormous error so fascinating is the fact that CoreLogic is considered to be the granddaddy of data collection and analytics when it comes to the housing market. […]Read More

When Lofty Missions Meet Reality

SUCCESS GOES TO MORTGAGE BROKER’S HEAD Prior to the 2008 mortgage meltdown, I knew of a moderately successful owner of a mortgage broker shop who had ridden a couple good years, and it went to his head. As a result, he was convinced he could change the world (because what mortgage broker can’t?) and he […]Read More

How Do Teams Benefit Clients?

We have eight people on our pre-approval team who are far more diligent and academic than I ever was, who know lending guidelines 100x better than I ever did, and who are simply smarter than I am in many ways. I share that because numerous agents replied to my blog Monday about Big Teams Reigning […]Read More

Big Teams Reign Supreme Over Brokerages; Go Team Go!

In Friday’s blog about company names (and JVM’s new name), I mentioned I had a very sweet deal with a mortgage firm that was set up just like a real estate brokerage (which was legal at the time). They only charged me a flat fee of $2,500 per month and I kept every penny of […]Read More

Don’t Stop Believin’ – Great Lessons From a Journey Song :)

My blogs have been too serious lately, so I am touching on a lighter topic – a Journey song that has proven to be far more enduring than anyone ever could have imagined. WHY JOURNEY? Because there is so much to learn from how the song, Don’t Stop Believin’, came to be. The WSJ had […]Read More

The Coaches Are Coming! Beware!

30-YEAR-OLD OFFERS TO TAKE ME TO THE NEXT LEVEL! A 30-something mortgage broker reached out to me last week and offered to “take my business to the next level” with his coaching. Always curious, I asked him what “the next level was” and he said he could “double my business in three months with his […]Read More

Great Incentives VS. Incentives Gone Wrong (& Cobras Too)

INCENTIVES ARE EVERYTHING/INCENTIVES GONE WRONG ARE FASCINATING! Great incentives create great outcomes. But unfortunately, humans are astonishingly bad at establishing incentives – a point investor, entrepreneur, and writer, Sahil Bloom recently made in a fascinating Twitter thread. Many people, myself included, have suffered from an inability to create the right incentives, which often lead to […]Read More

The Most Valuable Advice Agents Can Give Clients! (MOST VALUABLE FOR ALL OF US)

HOUSE FLIPPING GONE WRONG When I used to flip houses back in the day, I often worked with an extremely experienced agent who would help find the homes and write the contracts. He was also a master at the art of the “quick fix” (new floors, cabinets, counters, appliances, fixtures, paint and a bit of […]Read More

#1 Trait Super Successful People Share

CAR DEALER SELLS TO… ANYONE AND EVERYONE In the late 1970s, when I was in high school, I was hitchhiking on Tatum Boulevard in Phoenix, AZ b/c… I had just totaled my car and b/c people still actually hitchhiked then. Anyway, a brand-new Toyota Supra stopped to pick me up. The driver was extremely friendly, […]Read More

Learning From Amazon’s Many Failures; Failing To Succeed?

We try various initiatives all the time at JVM – and often fail spectacularly. A few things that come to mind are a team competition we set up in 2012 that utterly destroyed morale; a profit-sharing program we set up in 2014 that turned out to be blatantly illegal (our attorney panicked and immediately made […]Read More

Virtual Assistants – Why Everyone Should Hire Them; Changing the Labor Landscape

MORTGAGE BANK HAS 2,000 VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS My wife Heejin and I were recently chatting with the president of a major mortgage bank and he mentioned that his firm employed 2,000 virtual assistants (VAs) in the Philippines. He was not entirely sure what they all did, but he was amazed by their resumes, as many had […]Read More

In Defense Of Chaos (Why We Need It)

A GIANT VAT OF HONEY I came home last night to a giant vat full of honey – not just a lifetime’s supply, but several lifetimes. It turns out my wife Heejin ordered it when online shopping at Target and she was way too busy to vet honey sizes – so she just bought the […]Read More

Job Placement Disasters; Why I Love DISC (Personality) Tests

SKI BUM DISASTER JOB In 1985, I applied for a job at Copper Mountain Ski Resort in Colorado b/c I wanted to be a ski bum – and to ski for free, you had to have a job on the mountain. I applied to be a waiter b/c I just wanted to wait tables, ski, […]Read More

Cage Match Of The Century: Inflation vs. Deflation; Diversify!

WHY NO INFLATION AFTER 2008 After the 2008 mortgage meltdown, the Fed and congress stepped in with trillions of dollars of “Quantitative Easing” (buying of Treasuries and Mortgage-Backed Securities) and stimulus spending – and numerous market watchers and pundits, e.g. Arthur Laffer, predicted massive inflation. They were all wrong for several reasons, including the fact […]Read More

Why Humor Is Necessary To Advance Your Career & Life

DOGS NAMED STEVE & MIKE I have a dog named Steve, and we just got a friend for him that we are going to name “Mike.” We are naming our new dog “Mike” b/c I think it is hilarious to give dogs people names, particularly middle-aged boomer names. I can’t wait to be at the […]Read More

5 Business-Related Super Bowl Observations

Super Bowls are always interesting for reasons not having to do with football, such as high stakes, enormous hype, antics of the players, enormous ad costs, and much else. Yesterday’s game was no exception, and I have to share a few observations that I found particularly interesting. 1. LEADERS SHOULD NOT TAKE TOO MUCH CREDIT […]Read More

Success Bias; Dunning-Kruger; Luck & Self-Awareness

MY DOG STEVE HOSTS SEMINARS My dog Steve breaks records every month, as he eats more dog food than ever before every month. The problem is that it makes him super cocky, and he now hosts seminars to tell other dogs how to eat more food. The neighbor’s dog, Buttercup, is on to him though, […]Read More

Janitor Changes Entire Company; Listening To People In The Trenches

ARROGANT WASHINGTON MUTUAL EXECUTIVE SHUTS ME DOWN Prior to the 2008 meltdown, I sent more loans to Washington Mutual (WaMu) than any other broker. As a result, I had the “privilege” of meeting one of WaMu’s senior executives. Our brief conversation drifted to the types of loans that WaMu offered, and I mentioned that I […]Read More

Teddy Roosevelt’s Greatest Quote; Happy New Year Too

B/c we are all essentially in “sales” one way or another, I am always inspired by exceptionally effective salespeople. However, many of us forget that the most effective salespeople in history are often activists or politicians. Abraham Lincoln, for example, had to convince an entire nation to sacrifice its youth to keep that nation together […]Read More

Mobsters, Blind Men, Elephants, Narcos: Mexico, and The Big Picture

MOWING LAWNS FOR MOBSTERS When I was in high school in AZ, I did yard work every week for a neighbor who also happened to be our local mobster. I didn’t know he was a mobster until several years later, but the prevalence of new luxury cars, expensive toys, and boats did make me wonder. […]Read More

Nostalgia Ain’t What It’s Cracked Up To Be; Future Looks Good

LOTS OF HORSE MANURE When I was a kid my older brother was a “declamatory speaking champion” b/c that was actually a thing in the Midwest where high school kids competed to give the best speeches. Fortunately or unfortunately, I missed the opportunity to compete in the exciting, fast-paced world of declamatory speaking b/c my […]Read More

Automation for Survival; Korean Restaurants In El Paso

Every time my wife Heejin and I are in El Paso, Texas we eat at a Korean restaurant. And our most recent trip was no exception. (OK – it might have been our only trip to El Paso, but don’t let that detract from this story 😊.) In all seriousness, Heejin and I really do […]Read More

When Too Much Optimism Is Bad; Learning to Expect the Worst; Stockdale Paradox

Almost everyone I meet lately in both the mortgage and real estate industries is riding an unprecedented wave of success. They invariably have unbridled optimism that is often coupled with very ambitious plans for growth. JVM of course is no exception to this – but we are also planning for the worst. This is b/c […]Read More

“Decision Fatigue” Is A Thing

Every morning when I wake up, I follow an identical routine: 1. Meditate; 2. Put on workout clothes; 3. Insert headphones and start podcast; 4. Open curtains and make bed; 5. Drink glass of water; 6. Let Steve (dog) out; 7. Feed Steve; 8. Make Heejin’s coffee; 9. Make and consume protein shake and supplements […]Read More

Post Election Observations; Experts Wrong Again (and Again)

A few weeks ago, I predicted that the election would be contested and the uncertainty would cause rates to fall. And, today, the day after the election, there is tremendous uncertainty and rates fell. I was lucky with my prediction and merely repeating what I was reading across the blogosphere. And – things could have […]Read More

Big Team vs. Small Team vs. Solo – Best Recipe For Success?

When I was in law school, I met, worked and interviewed with dozens of attorneys and what shocked me was how few of them actually liked their profession (a main reason I never pursued the profession myself). There was, however, one notable exception that sticks in my mind to this day. He was a sole […]Read More

10 “Hunter Tips” To Jumpstart Every Career

This blog is not about hunting, just to be clear. It is about a very successful friend of ours (named Hunter) who is also a fierce competitor in our Bay Area market. RECIPE FOR SUCCESS I am blogging about a competitor for two reasons: (1) I have watched him follow a “recipe for success” for […]Read More

The Power Of NEGATIVE Thinking; Not Giving Voice To Your Pain, e.g. Don’t Complain :)

AMAZING STORIES ILLUSTRATING THE POWER OF THOUGHT In 1986, Bill Buckner, a Major League Baseball superstar, let a grounder roll through his legs. This allowed the opposing team (the Mets) to score the winning run which cost Buckner’s team (the Red Sox) the World Series. Buckner lives in infamy to this day because of that […]Read More

Whoever Has The Most Friends Wins; A Reminder That Hard Work Alone Doesn’t Cut It

NYU Professor, Scott Galloway, who I quote often b/c of his exceptional success in business, tweeted this: “People think of it as strong alpha males who deserve to win. That’s not what Darwin suggested, or what has been demonstrated. The most successful strategy in life is friendliness and cooperation, and we see it again and […]Read More

Why Home Prices Did Not Crash With 15% Unemployment? Planet Money Explains

After the COVID-19 crisis was in full force, I wrote several blogs in March and April pointing out why I thought housing prices would not crash as a result of the crisis. In response, numerous agents emailed or called me to suggest that I was being too optimistic and potentially misleading people. So, was I […]Read More

Purchases Surge! Avoiding Herd Mentality; Don’t Watch the News! North Korea Too

Our purchase volume is up 600% over last month, and this is why: We and our top agents didn’t get the memo that said the purchase market is dying. Yes, it slowed down but we all kept going full speed as if nothing had changed, knowing that the overall market remained huge. DON’T WATCH THE […]Read More

WWI General Court-Martialed for Bucking the System/Recommending Better Tech!

General Billy Mitchell is one of the more fascinating stories in American military history. He was a WWI combat hero who ended up in charge of airplane and tank development in the 1920s. He quickly saw that all future wars would be won or lost by the combatants with the best airplanes and tanks. As […]Read More

Excessive Worrying About Tech Disruptions

JVM WILL DIE (or change) (a lot) 10 years from now JVM Lending will not exist… in its current form (or anything even close). The same holds true for ALL of the major real estate brokerages we work with. AI, 5G, Cloud Storage, Bots, and every other aspect of tech will without a doubt massively […]Read More

Lessons From a Gruesome Medieval Battle

  Nicholas Hook shoved his arrow into the soldier’s eye socket and kept pushing until he felt the arrow slide through the soldier’s gelatinous brain and finally come to a rest at the back of the skull… OK – the above is an “attention-grabber” (I hope it worked 😊) that actually happened in a book […]Read More

OLD Coaches Changing NFL – NOT the Young; Need to Innovate!

Ten years ago, the New England Patriots led the Indianapolis Colts 34 to 28 late in the 4th Quarter, and it was “4th and 2.” (even if you’re not a football fan, keep reading; the blog is short and there is a great message here 😊) New England’s coach, Bill Belichick, decided to go for […]Read More

Don’t Set Goals for 2020! Systems Please!

“GOALS ARE FOR LOSERS” That is the opinion of Dilbert cartoonist, blogger and author Scott Adams, and it is a point he makes in his 2013 best-seller – How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. NOTE: Mr. Adams has become a political commentator since he wrote that book and I am neither […]Read More