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

Awesome Lessons From The Only Woman Fortune 500 CEO; #1 – Ask For Help

Katharine Graham was the only woman to head a Fortune 500 Company for most of her career, and also one of the most successful leaders, by far. She took over the reigns of the Washington Post Company in 1963 after her husband committed suicide. As an interesting aside, her husband ran the company b/c Katharine’s […]Read More

Calling Listing Agents; Doing What’s Best for Borrowers – Even If We Lose A Loan

Quick Reminder: Having your lender call the listing agent when you are making offers vastly improves the odds that your offer will get accepted. This of course assumes that your lender is articulate and can make a strong case. At JVM, we of course love to call listing agents, and we all rehearse the very […]Read More

How Fast Appraisals Can Equal No Appraisal Contingency

Our appraisals are completed within four business days of the time we receive a ratified purchase contract, on average. Getting an appraisal back so quickly benefits everyone b/c it eases minds and cements transactions. There is another benefit, however, that many of our referral partners take advantage of – they waive the appraisal contingency altogether […]Read More

Mind Sweeping; Quick Time Management Technique; Far Less Stress

I was at a coaching seminar recently listening to a time management guru. Her best piece of advice was something I have been practicing for years – she called it Mind Sweeping. Mind Sweeping is the practice of writing down everything that you have to do or are thinking about doing – personal, business, complex, […]Read More

No-Go on Escrow Holdbacks

We recently had a deal on a cute condo with a loft area. The issue was there was no railing on the area of the loft adjacent to the stairwell, so the appraiser called it out as a health and safety hazard (someone could literally fall down the stairs). The underwriter of course called for […]Read More

Deadline to File Returns Approaching; Advice to Borrowers Making Offers

It’s that time of the year again! We are approaching October 15th, which is the deadline to file 2016 taxes with the IRS if you previously requested an extension. This affects many of our pre-approved borrowers who are making offers, as we will need to verify one way or another that their tax returns have […]Read More

Appraised Value Often Does Not Equal Market Value

I share this story often during our Mortgage 101 Seminars. We once had a transaction in Berkeley involving a property that was listed for $850,000, and there were more than ten offers for over $1 million. The market value for that property was clearly over $1 million b/c there were so many buyers willing to […]Read More

What Ever Happened to APR? Annual Percentage Rate

Best quote of the day from the WSJ (Jason Gay): “Watching the Cleveland Browns is like watching a golden retriever make Thanksgiving dinner. Enthusiastic, yes, but not very successful.” I loved that b/c we work with all too many golden retrievers :). Every lender is required to quote an Annual Percentage Rate, or APR. APRs […]Read More

Communication; Communication; Communication

When Heejin and I were loan officers, we were spread way too thin. We had to do everything – talk to new buyers, engage Realtors, work on marketing, manage our teams, pre-approve files, research loan guidelines, put out fires, etc. As a result, we were never able to maintain the type of communication we would […]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 sub prime adjustable rate loans with short 2 year fixed periods and very steep adjustments. […]Read More

Awesome Hiring Tip: Never Hire A Players!

Here is an invaluable hiring tip I recently heard on Noah Kagan’s fun and irreverent podcast. Mr. Kagan, an early Facebook employee and Silicon Valley superstar, was discussing how to easily “2x” your business with his guest, Jonathan Siegel (another Silicon Valley superstar). The tip: Don’t ever hire A Players. They are impossible to come […]Read More

Consult Lender Before Moving Money; Paper-Trailing Assets

We recently had a Realtor remind his client to talk to us before moving any money around, and it was a very pleasant surprise. Most Realtors and borrowers do not realize how stringent lenders have to be when paper-trailing all assets used for reserves, down payment funds, and closing costs. Today’s blog is a quick […]Read More

Sam Walton & Walmart; “Made In America” Awesome Book & Lessons

One of the books that most inspired Gary Keller (of Keller Williams) was Sam Walton’s Made in America. And having recently read the book, I can see why. The book is short, interesting and chock-full of great lessons (no matter what you might think of Walmart itself). If Sam Walton was alive today, he would […]Read More

Appraisals; Turn Times; Rush Fees; Tracking; Herculean Effort

We take appraisals far more seriously than most lenders. It costs us dearly, but it is well worth it. Rush Fees: First of all, we order every appraisal as a rush, and we eat the rush fee. We do this b/c we have discovered that paying the extra fee to appraisers helps get much higher […]Read More

Our Interest Rates vs. The Other Guys’ Rates; Rate Comparisons

I wrote Monday about the debacle Heejin and I endured after we chased interest rates in Texas (the bank lost our file for 17 days). Interestingly, the bank is now trying to save the deal and won’t take “no” for an answer, but we know there is no way it can perform in time. I […]Read More

Our Personal Experience With Big Bank Financing; Not So Good

Heejin and I are buying a property in Texas. B/c JVM is not yet licensed in Texas, we pursued financing with other lenders. B/c we are well qualified, Heejin submitted applications to numerous lenders so we could observe their processes and see what they had to offer. She focused on large banks and credit unions […]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

Mortgage Bank Vs. Broker Vs. Commercial Bank; There Is A Difference

There are three primary channels for funding mortgages: (1) Commercial Banks; (2) Mortgage Banks; and (3) Brokers. There are major differences between the channels. Commercial Banks dominated the mortgage world after the 2008 meltdown but their market share has been shrinking in recent years. Commercial banks include Wells Fargo, Chase, Citi, U.S. Bank, and B […]Read More

Doing vs. Training vs. Motivating vs. Over-Analyzing

James Altucher told a wonderful story about his daughter in a recent podcast. She had just graduated from high school and desperately wanted to be an actor, but was sitting on the couch. She wasn’t auditioning b/c she didn’t have an expensive head shot, a resume, acting lessons, and sample reel among other things. Altucher […]Read More

How Long Is A Pre-Approval Valid?

Borrowers often ask how long our pre-approvals remain valid. Our stock answer is that pre-approvals remain valid as long as the primary criteria we used to pre-approve the borrower remains the same. The primary criteria includes a borrower’s employment, income, debt obligations, assets, and credit. If any of these criteria change, we need to know […]Read More

Seller Credits: When? How Much? Do They Slow Down Transactions?

Many buyers get credits for closing costs in lieu of credits for repairs, as most people know. If credits are for repairs, underwriters will require that they be completed prior to close which could cause delays. As such, it’s easiest on the lending side for the credit to be referenced on a simple RPA addendum […]Read More

How To Spot “Grit” When Interviewing, and Why It Is SO Necessary

A few years ago we hired an extraordinarily talented team member right after she graduated from a top university. She was exceptionally smart, articulate, fun, engaging, charming, etc., and her writing skills were excellent. As soon as we threw her into the line of fire, however, she resigned. She simply couldn’t handle the pressure of […]Read More

When Can Borrowers Lock In Their Interest Rate? Winning Pumpkin Muffin Recipe!

Borrowers who are still in the pre-approval stage or making offers on properties often ask if they can lock in their interest rate when they hear rumors of pending rate increases. For purchases, we are usually unable to lock in a rate until we get a ratified purchase contract that identifies a specific property address […]Read More

Wanna Be Successful? Hire People Totally Unlike You, and Fight (or at least Engage)

We had a JVM bake-off on Wednesday – everyone brought in their favorite treat to be tasted and voted on. Katherine Baldeck won with her Pumpkin Muffins and earned the $100 cash prize. I brought in frozen cookie dough that I still think was by far the best…and I didn’t get a single vote (again, […]Read More

Rate Locks; Lock Extensions; Who Pays? How They Work; Wells Fargo’s in the News Again…

Wells Fargo is in the news again for all of the wrong reasons. This time it is b/c they were charging borrowers for “lock extensions” even though the delays that fostered the need for the lock extensions were clearly Wells Fargo’s fault. It was blatantly dishonest on the part of Wells and they deserve the […]Read More

LIBOR Will Die in 2021. What Happens Next?

There has been a lot of news lately about LIBOR, or the London Interbank Offered Rate. This is the rate that major banks charge each other for short term loans. The problem was that the data for the calculation of the rate was gathered verbally from various large banks, and some of those banks were […]Read More

Watch Out For Loan Limit Changes When Crossing County Lines

We recently had an FHA approved buyer cross the bridge from Contra Costa County to Solano County to make a $500,000 FHA offer on a property. This price would have been no issue in Contra Costa County, but Solano County’s FHA Loan Limit is only $431,250 and the buyer only qualified for FHA financing. As […]Read More

Sales Culture – Too Much vs. Just Right In the Age of Millennials

A friend of ours in the mortgage industry applied for a loan with one of the country’s largest and most prominent mortgage banks to test their system and see what they had to offer. After he applied, the company called him sixteen times in an effort to close his loan. The firm also continues to […]Read More

What Affects Rates For An Individual? A Lot!

Yesterday, I wrote an all too complex explanation about macroeconomic influences on interest rates, and got this wonderful feedback from a top producing KW agent: I’m dying of boredom reading this….😁 OK – that is not the feedback we hope for, but I was just trying to be thorough…  :). Today’s subject will be simpler […]Read More

Factors That Influence Interest Rates

Many people think the Fed is the primary mover of interest rates, but there are many other factors. Some of the factors and some key concepts are explained below. The Fed: The Federal Reserve does influence rates with its policy statements, its open market operations (buying and selling bonds), and its primary tool – the […]Read More

We Pay Per Diems – When & Why; VA Loans Too

Reminder: We are VA Financing Experts. What makes us so good at them is the fact that we see more VA loans as a team over the course of a year than any one loan officer might see in an entire career. We love VA! We also happily pay Per Diem Penalties if a transaction […]Read More

Buyers Can’t “Roll Closing Costs” Into Their Loan; Options?

Total closing costs for a purchase transaction can vary from $5,000 to $30,000, depending on purchase price, loan amount, type of loan, month of the transaction and location of the transaction. This is b/c closing costs include not only the standard title, escrow, appraisal, underwriting fees, etc.; closing costs also include prepaid interest and property […]Read More

Timing The Bottom For Rates? Get While Gettin’ Is Good

Borrowers often ask us if we think rates will fall further before they lock, and they often want to “time to the market” and lock in their rate at the “bottom.” As a result, they are sometimes reluctant to lock or get us their paperwork. This in turn delays purchase transactions and sometimes causes borrowers […]Read More

Busy vs. Productive; The Big Leap

Although national purchase volume is down from last year, our office is still in the midst of “busy season.” Despite the large volume of things that must get done, our team still strives to manage a work-life balance by actively prioritizing and managing their workdays. This reminds me that we see many people “addicted to […]Read More

The Dispute Over Disputing Disputes (On Credit Reports)

One of our most frequent credit issues involves reported “disputes.” Borrowers report an account in “dispute” whenever they believe some credit data (usually late payments) is reported in error. We usually need to remove the “disputes” from the credit report altogether with an expensive “rapid rescore” and borrowers often do not like this. We must […]Read More

Funding Process Explained; Why Wet/Table Funding Isn’t Favorable

We have had a string of buyers relocating to California from the East Coast lately, and they are confused about the closing process out here. For most purchases in California, the loan is not immediately ready to fund after a borrower signs their loan documents. The “funding package” (signed loan documents and escrow conditions) needs […]Read More

Why Lender-Paid Mortgage Insurance Isn’t Such a Good Deal

We are seeing borrowers come to us with quotes from online lenders for conventional loans with LTV > 80% but NO mortgage insurance. What the borrowers don’t realize is they are being quoted for a Lender-Paid Mortgage Insurance product (LPMI). With LPMI, a lender simply waives PMI requirements in exchange for a higher interest rate. […]Read More

15 Day Close Resumé! My Dog Kevin; Ask For A Resumé Please :)

Every lender and their dog is now claiming they can close in 15 days, when they probably…can’t. How do we know?  B/c we close in 15 calendar days all the time, and we know how hard it is. I even caught my own dog Kevin bragging that he could close in 15 days, and our […]Read More

Types of Loans: FHA, VA, Gov’t, Conventional, Conforming, Jumbo, etc.

There is often a lot of confusion about the names and types of mortgages available in the market place. Here is some general information to address some of the confusion. I. “Government Loans” are mortgages that are either insured or guaranteed by the government or a government agency. They include FHA, VA and USDA loans. […]Read More

Thinking Like an Owner; JVM’s Book Club Again

We wanted to provide a brief edit to last Friday’s Blog about JVM’s Book and Podcast Club, as it looked like there were only 10 books on the list. There are actually 36 books and 3 podcast series – listed entirely here. And again – we’d love feedback. I went to a coffee shop a while […]Read More

Reminders: Amendatory Clause; RPA Signatures; Seller = LLC; Deceased Seller

FHA and VA Amendatory Clause. This form is required for all VA and FHA loans. It lets buyers know they are entitled to the appraisal and not bound to buy the property if it does not appraise. This form needs to be signed by all parties and dated prior to the appraisal. Residential Purchase Contracts […]Read More

Technology & Easy Doc Uploads Does Not A Mortgage Make

More than ever, lenders are introducing and touting new technology and client interfaces as huge breakthroughs and the solutions to all mortgage problems. One of our competitors recently spent $80 million on new technology, leaving us to wonder … how? and on what? We too are on the technology bandwagon and are in fact getting […]Read More

Adverse External Influences On Appraisals – Explained

“Adverse external influences” are structures or entities near a property that negatively affect its value. Appraisers often use the phrase “External Obsolescence” when describing these influences. Adverse influences include freeways, busy arterial through-streets, railroads, BART or mass transit trains, cemeteries, schools and commercial buildings or establishments. Real estate agents involved in transactions with external influences […]Read More

JVM’s Book and Podcast “Club” – Books/Podcasts We Love & Recommend

We encourage everyone at JVM to read, listen and learn as much as humanly possible b/c (1) it helps our team with their personal and professional growth; (2) it helps our clients, as better informed people provide better service; and (3) it helps JVM, as we hugely benefit from when our team members grow personally […]Read More

Must Prove Taxes Are Paid; Payment Plan

We collect the last two years of filed tax returns from almost every borrower, as required for almost every loan program. If the tax returns indicate that income taxes are owed, we must show proof that the taxes have been paid. Proof can be in the form of a canceled check, a receipt from the […]Read More

Hire Lucky People; Be Lucky

Tony Hsieh is a Harvard educated serial entrepreneur and author who co-founded and runs the online shoe and apparel company, Zappos. The man is considered a management guru b/c of his many successes, his exceptional brainpower and the extraordinary culture he created at Zappos. One of our favorite pieces of advice from Mr. Hsieh is […]Read More

Tax Transcripts; Proof Taxes Were Filed; 4506-T; How It Works

Every lender is required to get the last two years of tax returns from every borrower for almost every loan. We then have to prove that the tax returns are authentic and that they were actually filed with the IRS. This is why every borrower has to sign an IRS Form 4506-T as part of […]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

Clean Purchase Contracts; No Reports/Inspections; All Addenda

We received a purchase contract last week, and immediately emailed our confirmation of terms request to the Realtor and then ordered our rush appraisal, as per usual. Four days later, we received the appraisal at the contract price of $830,000. Yaaaayyy, right? Wrong. The Realtor forgot to send us the addendum indicating the price was […]Read More