Nov 26, 2008

Slowest Time of the Year - Best Deals to be Made

Hello again Neighbors,

We are entering the slowest time of the year in this business - the Holiday Season.

November and December are traditionally very slow.


If you want to buy a home, this is the season to try - and try hard. Last year I saved a family over $120,000 on new construction. The builders are trying to close out their year and get rid of "standing inventory" (complete or nearly complete homes that are just sitting). It's those we go after.

We go in wheeling and dealing, and often time wind up with smokingly good results (for the Buyers). It's the worst time of the year to Sell, but if you are curious about Selling - call me.

As December is the slowest time - January starts an entirely new "land rush" season!

Happy Holidays,

- Jim

Emergency Rate Cut by the Fed !


...and it is impacting mortgage rates (loans) directly this time!

I got an update yesterday from our credit union pals - 5.625% for 30 year fixed at NO points !!! 5.375% on a 15 year fixed at NO points !!!


We are nearing the lowest point in history again.

Here's a blurb from another lender friend:

The Federal Reserve and Federal Home Loan Banks announced that they would purchase up to $600 billion in Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS), exciting news that sent interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages plummeting below 6.00% and near the lows for the year!

Is now the time to Buy?

Watch for the next blog post!

- Jim

Happy Thanksgiving !!

Hello Neighbors,

Just a quick note to say Happy Thanksgiving.

May all of you have a wonderful time with family and friends. Relax. Enjoy some down time, and focus on what is important.

At Neighborly, our families wish you and yours the best!

- Jim

Nov 19, 2008

Working in This Business - A Student's Questions

I had a fun email exchange today. A student from CSU Sacramento sent me a list of 11 questions about this business. She is the daughter of a fellow Realtor as well.

I remember conducting such surveys when I was a wee tot. It's fun to be on the other side now, so I thought I would share the exchange.

Here you go:

1. Exactly what does your job entail (specifics on what you do)?

I am the owner and managing broker of Neighborly Realty. I manage real estate agents, set business policy, implement business strategy, and get to help my own clients (buyers and sellers) with their housing needs. I am launching another business right now too, called “Neighborly Financial”.

2. What are the educational requirements for this position?

I think it can be done with a high school education, 8 real estate specific classes, and the passing of two California state tests (Real Estate sales person and Real Estate broker’s exams). You need to be a broker before you can run your own “shop”. My own education is far beyond this. I have a BS from Chico State and an MBA from UC Davis. Both degrees are in Business Administration, with a focus in Technology.

3. What experience is required or recommended?

Nothing is really required (which is why this industry is having so many deep deep problems). Recommended? Wow. I could go on for hours on this topic. Most important points though:

a) You have to be genuinely concerned about people. If you don’t have other’s interests at the top of your list, you shouldn’t be in this job

b) You have to think long term. Where is your business going to come from in a year? If you don’t think this way, you won’t survive. You can’t just live pay check to pay check.

c) You need to be technology enabled. If you aren’t keeping up with communication trends (texting, blogging, etc.) you are going to miss out on the new folks entering the market.

4. What do you like most about the position? Like least?

Most: I get to make the decisions that I think are the best for my clients and staff.

Least: The hours. As your dad knows, we are working 7 days a week right now. Also, the lack of professional people in the business. There are some real slugs out there, and you have to be careful (for your own business, and for your clients).

5. If you could start over, would you choose the same career? Why or why not?

Yes. But I would have done it much earlier. I spent 18 years total with IBM, Hewlett Packard, and Agilent Technologies – before making the full time leap into this industry. Those experiences gave me skills that are miles beyond my peers, but I should have made the leap earlier.

6. What problems could I expect to encounter in a position of this type?

Evolving regulatory change as we recover from this current disaster. Legal challenges from unknown directions. A tough time finding good people to work with, and to work for. Tightening lending markets. Keeping your own “pipeline” full (with clients who need help in the future).

7. What future changes do you see in this field?

More regulation. Continued reduction of those agents who are just “in it for the money”. Consolidation as some of the smaller brokerages and companies merge (to survive financially). More foreclosed homes and short sales.

8. Describe the ideal person for this career.

Professional. Dedicated to helping others. Skilled communicator with good follow through skills. Someone who has a niche and can build a business based on that niche (like your dad’s language skills giving him unique access to other Philippinos – that is a networking angle he really needs to build).

9. What is the average salary for a person just starting out in this career?

Yikes. I have no idea as it is 100% commission based. In this market where times are so difficult? Perhaps $30,000 a year? A good agent, with good business skills, good coaching, and a good mentor should be earning more than that.

10. What questions could I expect if I were interviewing for a job of this type?

Style questions really. Communication skills. Fit with the exiting team / brokerage. It depends who you interview with. Most brokers are in it for the money – so they will ask you about your “referral database” business. We aren’t though, so we interview for style, fit, and genuine care for other people.

11. What professional organizations (journals, newsletters) do you recommend?

A local association membership (like the Placer County Association of Realtors or the Sacramento Association of Realtors). LOTS of web site reading with the California Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. Read our blog too!

Kinda fun.

- Jim

Nov 3, 2008

Please Vote !! - Need a Ride?

Hello Neighbors!

Just a reminder to get out there and vote tomorrow!

If you need a ride, give us a call. Depending on need, we'll do our best to help you out. That's what neighbors do.

Good luck!

- Jim