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Posted On Sunday, 28 January 2024 12:32 Written by
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Posted On Wednesday, 31 January 2024 00:00 Written by

I wanted to share a situation that took place this week with one of my clients, and I thought it might provide a good reminder to all of us that just because we said it, doesn’t mean people heard it! Often people will hear what they want to hear, not necessarily what you did say. This holds true when people want the answer they want and not what you said. Case in point, a client is a veteran and has used a VA loan before but is not using a VA loan this time because they don’t have enough eligibility to keep their current house with a VA loan already in place, and rent it, and buy the next primary residence.

This client was fixated on a VA loan and couldn’t get past it. The LO explained over the phone that they couldn’t use the VA loan but had other options that would work within the budget, but it wouldn’t be 100% financing and money would have to be brought to closing. The call was completed, and the client appeared to understand the situation (and had plenty of assets to make the deal happen) but the LO didn’t follow up the call with an email that documented that call and clearly explaining each point they had shared during that call.

Well, the client went to the internet and got bits and pieces of information that they tied together so they were convinced the LO had lied to them and was trying to scam them out of using a VA loan to buy this house. They then wrote a three-page letter to the referring real estate agent, denouncing the LO and their company! The agent then called the LO and the LO explained the entire story, which the agent was able to understand, but the damage was done. If the LO would have just put the reasons they discussed in an email and sent it to the client, the client would have had the actual reasons to search, instead of what they believed to be the case. It also would have been possible to copy the agent on that email and the agent would have understood the situation BEFORE the client blew it all up.

Situations happen. Communication is very important. Please be sure you always follow up with a call with an email, and an email with a call! It won’t solve every issue, but it will prevent a few! 

Today we have initial and continuing jobless claims, GDP, & New Home Sales. Friday, we have PCE and Pending Home Sales.

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Posted On Monday, 29 January 2024 00:00 Written by

In years past, agility has been the cornerstone of business success, and it is something I frequently address in my teachings. The ability to react quickly to disruptions as they come is not a terrible thing, though while agility may have kept companies and executives at the top of their industry for many years, it is no longer enough.

Agility puts you in a position that is only useful after disruption has occurred. Essentially, you have no edge on the competition, no matter what that competition is. Crisis management and reacting to problems as they are hitting you is immensely stressful, as by the time they occur, you have already lost profits, customers, or operational efficiency.

In a time where Artificial Intelligence (AI) and massive technological transformations are happening at beyond-exponential rates, being reactionary and having a wait-and-see attitude will be what both allows your competition to surge ahead but also what proves to be a major setback in both your professional and personal life.

This month, I had the fortune to speak with Karen Ellenbecker, EIG founder and senior wealth advisor for the Ellenbecker Investment Group and a longtime friend of mine, on her podcast, MoneySense. I am extremely thankful that Karen invited me to join in the discussion about the technological revolution taking place and to share my insights on how to be an Anticipatory Leader in the face of current and future AI disruptions.

The ability to be agile is a good skill to have, but business leaders need an Anticipatory strategy in conjunction with it that allows them to pre-solve the real problems in each circumstance before they have the opportunity to disrupt. No longer is it advantageous to merely be a passive receiver of the future; you need to instead anticipate what is to come and be an active shaper of the future to create a positive one filled with opportunity.

The Future of Technology Is Now

One of the first questions Karen asked me in our discussion was to give my definition of AI. My definition is quite simple: revolution. Artificial Intelligence has been around for decades whether everyone realizes it or not, and I have based a large amount of my research on its implications and how it will impact business operations and the world. In the past, AI has been in an evolutionary state, moving forward exponentially. However, last year, we witnessed the technology take an unprecedented leap with the introduction of ChatGPT from OpenAI.

Just to refresh for those new to this AI application: ChatGPT is a generative language model that is changing the way we write content, create videos, code, and more. As the fastest-growing AI software in contemporary history with over 100 million users in the first two months, the software is changing the face of business and our personal lives at an unprecedented rate.

ChatGPT has become a major disruption to almost every industry, and many software companies are already trying to play catch-up. Microsoft released their own version called GPT-4, as well as Google, with their model, Bard.

Now that AI applications are moving at a beyond-exponential pace, there are only two options left for every business: to either look to the future and locate the opportunities AI presents, or to react on an oncoming basis and fall behind where it will be near impossible to catch up sooner than later.

Find a Way to Let Go of Fear

It is human nature to fear change, to fear the unknown future, and to try to ignore the things that we fear. Many executives and business leaders allow this fear to keep them from taking the steps necessary to move forward. It stops them from making decisions and stops the company from growing.

Fear quite simply stems from uncertainty. If we are uncertain or do not have enough information about something, we tend to be resistant to or afraid of what is to come, halting us.

The opposite of that coin is certainty, and with certainty comes power — the power to choose our path and the confidence to make bold choices that propel us forward. Strategy based on uncertainty is high-risk, but strategy based on certainty is low-risk. But how do you gain that certainty that allows you to make choices with confidence?

There is a phenomenon that Karen and I discussed in this podcast episode called a “black swan event.” This is an event that comes along without any warning. However, I firmly believe that there are always signs that indicate what is to come, even amid a black swan event.

If you go to a beach and look out onto the water, you will notice a bunch of white swans close to the shore, and you admire them for their grace and beauty. Now, look farther out onto the ocean, and you see more white swans, but you also see a black swan. Many people are so preoccupied with the white swans up close that they do not bother to expand their gaze to see the black swan farther out, leaving them surprised when it comes close.

The same is true for business. By taking the time to look out into the future, you can anticipate and turn uncertainty to certainty by seeing the “black swan” heading your way, so to speak. Only then can you understand the price of not doing anything when predictable disruptions are heading your way. Ask yourself, if you know something is going to happen, what is the cost of not doing it? More often than not, this cost will be far superior to any immediate cost in taking a step forward in an Anticipatory direction.

Make an Effort to Find the Black Swan

The key to anticipating the future in the face of technological transformation is to not ignore the black swan. The future is not unpredictable, and the first step to becoming an Anticipatory Leader is realizing that everything, and I do mean everything, runs in cycles. The moon has cycles, and astronomers can tell you exactly what day in March 2040 it will be full. The stock market will always go down and will always come back up.

What keeps us stuck in fear and blind to those predictable cycles is linear change. We went from 3G to 4G and now have 5G computing. What comes next? We will never go back to slower processing power, so obviously 6G, 7G, and so forth. AI is also a linear change. We will never go back to a time without AI. The secret is out, it is being applied by many, and while regulations may change around it, we will continue to use it as computing power increases. AI applications will only ever keep moving forward and transforming the way that we do business, so it is crucial that you embrace it now.

The key is identifying the next inevitable step in linear change by looking at Hard Trends. These future certainties that will happen should be separated from the Soft Trends that are based on assumptions and can be changed. By understanding the Hard Trends that are coming your way, you improve the confidence in yourself and your team to overcome your fear of the unknown and, instead, make more bold choices. You gain the ability to turn disruption into a choice, and influence the Soft Trends to your advantage.

Posted On Tuesday, 30 January 2024 00:00 Written by
Posted On Saturday, 27 January 2024 06:33 Written by
Posted On Friday, 26 January 2024 12:11

High mortgage rates and an uptick in housing supply took some pressure off price growth, but prices aren’t falling because inventory is still low

U.S. home prices climbed 0.4% month over month in December—the smallest increase since June—according to a new report from Redfin (, the technology-powered real estate brokerage. December represented the third straight month of slowing price growth. On a year-over-year basis, prices rose 6.6%.

This is according to the Redfin Home Price Index (RHPI), which is similar to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices but publishes more than one month earlier. December data covers the three months ending Dec. 31, 2023. Read the full RHPI methodology here.

"Many home purchases that closed in December were negotiated in November, when mortgage rates were near the highest level in over two decades. That likely depressed home price growth because buyers were grappling with limited purchasing power," said Redfin Senior Economist Sheharyar Bokhari.

Home price growth also likely slowed in December because the housing shortage eased slightly, giving buyers more options to choose from; new listings rose 0.1% to the highest seasonally adjusted level since September 2022. Still, housing supply remained far below pre-pandemic levels, preventing home prices from dropping as buyers compete for a limited pool of homes.

Overall, homebuying conditions have been improving. Price growth is slowing, supply is on the rise and mortgage rates have fallen significantly since their October peak. Price growth also appears to be normalizing as the housing market becomes more balanced; the 0.4% gain in December is roughly in line with monthly increases that occurred the years leading up to the pandemic.

“Homebuyers can take solace in the fact that prices are unlikely to balloon again like they did during the pandemic homebuying frenzy, but they probably won’t fall any time soon, either,” Bokhari said. “That’s because supply isn’t growing enough to bring prices down, and mortgage rates are no longer falling enough to drive prices up significantly.”

Prices Dropped Fastest in Austin, TX and Climbed Fastest in Chicago

Fifteen of the 50 most populous U.S. metropolitan areas posted month-over-month price decreases in December, though all but one of those declines were less than 1%. In Austin, TX, prices fell 1.1%—the biggest drop among the metros Redfin analyzed. Next came Oakland, CA (-0.9%), Sacramento, CA (-0.8%), Miami (-0.6%) and Nashville, TN (-0.6%).

In Chicago, home prices rose 2.6% month over month—the largest increase among the 50 most populous metros. Rounding out the top five are San Jose, CA (1.7%), Pittsburgh (1.6%), Virginia Beach, VA (1.4%) and Charlotte, NC (1.1%).

To view the full report, including a chart and metro-level summary, please visit:

Posted On Friday, 26 January 2024 06:52 Written by

-- Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 6.69 percent.

“The 30-year fixed-rate has remained within a very narrow range over the last month, settling in at 6.69% this week,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “Given this stabilization in rates, potential homebuyers with affordability concerns have jumped off the fence back into the market. Despite persistent inventory challenges, we anticipate a busier spring homebuying season than 2023, with home prices continuing to increase at a steady pace.”

News Facts

  • The 30-year FRM averaged 6.69 percent as of January 25, 2024, up from last week when it averaged 6.60 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.13 percent.
  • The 15-year FRM averaged 5.96 percent, up from last week when it averaged 5.76 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 5.17 percent.

The PMMS® is focused on conventional, conforming, fully amortizing home purchase loans for borrowers who put 20 percent down and have excellent credit. For more information, view our Frequently Asked Questions.

Freddie Mac’s mission is to make home possible for families across the nation. We promote liquidity, stability, affordability and equity in the housing market throughout all economic cycles. Since 1970, we have helped tens of millions of families buy, rent or keep their home. Learn More: Website

Posted On Thursday, 25 January 2024 15:59 Written by
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