Today's Headlines - Realty Times

Sometimes people allow fear to prevent reality in their lives. Sometimes people allow fear to paralyze them into inaction. I have always found it that if you look into the actual fear and find out why you are afraid, you sometimes see there is nothing to be afraid of.

We have seen a number of people creating a new dialog of fear around the potential of 2.7 million homes entering foreclosure due to the expiration of forbearance. The fear has even grabbed the government because they have chosen to kick the reality of expiring forbearance down the road another six months because they don’t have a simple answer to the question, “what happens”.

Well, let’s do some math. NAR says we would have an even more robust purchase market if we had more homes in inventory. They say they would like about 5 or 6 months of homes to create an “average & comfortable” market. Last year we sold 6.8 million units, or about 560K units per month. We have a much greater demand than that, but we could certainly be happy to get more houses in the market, and 5 months @560K per month would be about 2,800,000 homes. However, despite the inventory challenges, 2020 was the biggest number of home sales since 2006!

The new fear is if all the homes in forbearance go into foreclosure, it would destroy the housing market and collapse prices. However, some simple math may shed some light on the reality.

1. Of the 2.7 million homes, are all of them going to go into foreclosure? Given the rise in home values, why wouldn’t they just get sold?
2. Again, many people will pay the balance, refinance, or extend and modify their current deals.
3. If ALL the homes did become available, wouldn’t that supply of homes just supply the 5 or 6 months’ worth of “inventory the NAR says it takes to make the market more normal?

Yes, buyer demand makes the market a challenge, just like a few years ago the sellers were caught without buyers who wanted to buy.

Yes, given the failure of fully explaining and understanding forbearance, some people may have to sell their homes or may go into foreclosure. But given the current market, it is much more likely the resolve the issue or sell at a profit.

Not all 2.7 million homes in forbearance will end up on the market, but if they did, according to NAR, it would be welcome news for all the agents and people who are struggling with inventory!

Acknowledge the information and respect the fear; but do some math and find that fear may likely be very unfounded for many reasons once you look at everything and put it into perspective.

Questions or comments: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Posted On Monday, 12 April 2021 00:00 Written by

“Life holds a special magic for those who dare to dream.” Anonymous

This week homeowners and homebuyers saw home values continue to rise, and the mortgage rates dipped down for the first time since January. The seemingly unattainable dream of renovating your home to be your castle or restructuring your debt so you can retire suddenly became possible like the wave of a magical wand. 

Mortgage rates dipped about 5% this week for the first time since January 2021.  Home values increased 15.6% year-over-year.  The mortgage that the aspiring homebuyer could not afford last week suddenly became affordable this week

The Collinger’s dream of getting their children through college, and retiring within the next ten years seemed impossible.  This week, their home hit the highest value they had ever seen. At the same time, mortgage rates dipped back down from their recent climb.   Restructuring the other debt with a cash-out refinance with the high home value and low fixed rate, the Collinger’s could now do what they never imagined they could—get their older kids through college and set their sights on retiring in less than ten years. 

The Dennison’s dreamed of remodeling their home and opening up the kitchen and living room space, installing a gunite swimming pool, and converting the back patio area to a bar-b-que station to spend more quality time with friends and family.  They had attempted to get financing to achieve this dream over the years, but the home value was never enough, and the mortgage payment was always too high.   But, today, with a swish of the magic wand, all of these dreams, the Dennison’s are making a reality. 

If you have not explored selling your home and moving up, the low mortgage rate makes this step up much more affordable than you think-even with the higher price on the move-up home. 

In 2018 the Mueller’s explored selling their home and buying a bigger, more expensive home.  The payment buying the bigger, better home would have cost them $800 more per month on a mortgage—insanely out of reach. But, selling at the higher price now and locking in a much lower mortgage rate landed them their castle and only costs about $300 more per month.  Rising home value and the bottom bumping fixed mortgage rate was like the flick of the magic wand, and, viola’, they were in the beautiful dream home. 

What do YOU want to accomplish with YOUR mortgage?  Make Your Plan. Work Your Plan. If the deal works for you today, let’s do it today.   Let’s explore YOUR mortgage options.  

Connect with Jo Garner at www.JoGarner.com

Posted On Monday, 12 April 2021 00:00 Written by
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Posted On Sunday, 11 April 2021 00:00 Written by
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 Athena UslanderSilverland Bakery began over 30 years ago as one of the first commercial bakers of brownies. Since 1983, our founder and former structural engineer Athena Uslander has been hand crafting brownies, old fashioned bakery bars, cookies, crispy rice treats, raw bars and customized products for wholesale customers as well as direct to the consumer. Recipes are developed by Athena are hand made with locally sourced, high quality all-natural ingredients in small batches, preservative free. Our family business strives to be a recognized brand known to consumers, foodservice and retailers for making all natural desserts crafted by heart and hand.

What Does It Take To “Craft By Hand And Heart?”

It takes a pregnant engineer who’s fed up with her job and determined to pass some tradition down to her kids. Thirty years ago, Athena Uslander, with her nimble engineer‘s hands and tradition-craving mother’s heart, left her job for her passion.

The rest, is Chicago history – “the birthplace of the brownie” hasn’t been the same since. Those coveted family recipes are still strictly followed by master artisans, as they fold by hand and douse with love every Silverland treat you eat.

Shortly after starting Silverland Bakery, Athena decided that one of the bakeries core values would be giving back. Since then, Silverland has sponsored a Cambodian village through World Vision.

In 2005 Athena Developed The Athena Fund To Help Local Women In Need With The Same Care And Love That We Give To Our Product Line.

All of the love and attention to detail given to Silverland’s baked good hasn’t gone unnoticed. They have been recognized by national media, including The Food Network, The Travel Channel, USA Today, and Good Housekeeping, the Chicago Tribune, and the Sun Times.. In 2005, the multi-faceted Athena was chosen as a model and spokeswoman for Unilever's Dove Pro-Age™. This experience took her to an appearance on Oprah and a feature on The Today Show, which put her Silverland Bakery before a national audience. It also took her to major media and talk show tour across North and South America and Europe.

Posted On Friday, 09 April 2021 00:00 Written by

With the men’s NCAA basketball March Madness being completed tonight (April 5th) and the NCAA women’s finals now settled, the furor raised by women in terms of equal treatment again became prominent.  One item being discussed: Should the NCAA women’s final four also be termed “March Madness.” The response here is “Why not?” Both men’s and women’s NCAA final fours are played during the month of March, although they both seemingly finish the first week in April. Is this a Title lX issue?

“Title lX of the Education Amendments Law of 1972 (yes, it is now one-half century old) is a federal law that states ‘No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” While the law is certainly one of justice, its interpretation has lawyers and courts working overtime. Is an organization or T*E*A*M the same as a person? Is lack of funds available for a sport, discrimination?

Much has been discussed lately that the women’s weight room facilities are not in equal terms with the men’s. Should they be equal in every aspect? It is certainly only fair that every attempt be made to supply the women’s training program with every means possible to assist them in their competitions. Fair, yes, but equal? I have long believed: “There is nothing so unequal as the equal treatment of un-equals.” That doesn’t mean men should get more than women. It means that the women’s program should receive all that is necessary to provide the best possible results for those athletes.

In terms of equal opportunity, it is interesting to note that as of April 1st, the Miami Marlins baseball club under the direction of CEO and part-owner Derek Jeter, hired its first woman as general manager, Kim Ng. She is of Asian-American heritage, but born in Indiana and raised in New York, where she had been trained as Yankees assistant general manager with Jeter, their star shortstop. Jeter has known Ng for 22 years. Joe Torre was general manager. The Yankees won three World Series during that time.

When Ng got the call from Jeter, she called Torre who told Ng, “This isn’t a token call (some certainly are), if he’s (Jeter) asking, you know it’s serious.”

Will you give others, without discrimination, an opportunity to succeed?

Posted On Friday, 09 April 2021 00:00 Written by
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Posted On Wednesday, 07 April 2021 00:00 Written by

Have you been to The Strip in Las Vegas?  

Unless you’re used to walking down the streets of New York City or Tokyo, The Strip in Las Vegas is a serious shock to the system for anyone.

Energy.  Volume.  Lights.  People.

Some craziness…or, lots of craziness.  I mean, heck, what is The Signature Move of Las Vegas?  It certainly keeps The Promise in regard to what it is known for!

This past week for Spring Break we took our kids to Vegas in the RV for a little break from our normal quiet life, and threw them to the wolves of visual and audible over-stimulation.

What do you do for a Home Family or Work Family Retreat?

I knew my “little raptors” were in for a treat within the first minute of our arrival, when, after watching the Mickey Mouse guy take a photo with some tourist children, ripped off his costume head, ran over to the Pikachu-costumed guy, and they both started smoking and coughing…with beloved cartoon character heads upside down on the ground at their feet.

Welcome to Vegas kids! 

In stunned silence, and a bold attempt at holding back their nervous laughter, we saw sight after sight that caught us off-guard; whether it was the Chippendale Dancer dudes in speedos trying to get a selfie with our Mother, the scores of stores enticing our entrance with all types of gambling, alcohol, and excitement, the dancers doing body contortions in a circle from whence they cannot step outside of for a performance, or the nearly nude showgirls looking for embarrassed husbands and tips.

Why would our “nice little family” subject our teenage children to such an experience, you ask?

Easy answer: The Promise to The Family is creating and facilitating experiences to educate, enlighten, and engage in leadership and culture – even to shock the system. 

A few hours worth of walking, gawking, and blinking in an unfamiliar setting, led to a week’s worth of talking, connecting, and unforgettable memories between our RV, our home, and every conversation we’ve had since.

I believe the powerful, life-affirming, faith-promoting, and decision-making discussions will continue for much longer than that as well!

This was eye-opening in every way, and did exactly what we’d hoped it would in our little retreat as a family.

QUESTIONS ~

What types of experiences are you creating for your HOME Family?  

What retreats can you create for your WORK Family?  

What past experiences have created the most unforgettable memories for your Home Family and Work Family?

In the Pandemic-Life, we have been trapped inside and simulated as many culture-creating opportunities as we could, yet now that doors have opened up a bit more, we are racing to get outside!

Perhaps your family feels like ours, and maybe your workspace is the same.

The Family Vacations beckon;

The Work Retreats and Events begin again;

How are you going to make it:

Unforgettable?  Impressionable?  Conversational?  Significant?

At The Promise Institute, we facilitate experiences such as this:

Level 1: The Leadership Game (held as a roundtable outside of the office – video HERE to check it out)

Level 2: The Promise Culture (ICM Process workshop)

Level 3: The Promise Retreats (held worldwide)

Level 4: The Promise Impact (combination of retreats, humanitarian trips, and online engagement)

As a Promise Family at Home, we do all levels listed above at once on every trip, and plan them with the Promise Philosophy in mind, as the main driver of our intention.

Your Promise Prompt for this Week ~ 

Share with us in the comments where you’ve been, where you’re going, or any way in which you have cultivated a Promise Culture in your Family at Home, or Family at Work.

I am excited to learn from you, and hope we get the opportunity to discuss facilitating the same with those you associate with when you engage with The Promise Institute.

~ Jason Hewlett

 

Source: JasonHewlett.com

Posted On Wednesday, 07 April 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Tuesday, 06 April 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Tuesday, 06 April 2021 00:00 Written by

While there is a “generational war” between the young and the old in the workplace created by the younger generation’s familiarity with technology and the older generation’s aversion to it, a multigenerational concern that plagues all age groups is that technology will outpace humans, leaving many unemployed. It is an understandable fear, especially if you consider my Hard Trend Methodology. Hard Trends are future certainties that will happen, and digital disruption, which includes and is certainly not limited to artificial intelligence (A.I.), is without question a Hard Trend, further authenticating the fear of losing your job to technology.

However, there is great news: humans will always be needed, just in new ways!

The Cognitive Domain

Let’s first look at Bloom’s Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain, a hierarchy of the cognitive processes of a human being.

On the bottom, you have remembering, which involves recall and listing information. Next comes understanding, where comprehension and discussion take place, and third is applying that knowledge from understanding.

Fourth is the ability to analyze patterns, fifth has us evaluating those patterns to draw conclusions, and at the very top of this pyramid is creating: using old concepts to create new ideas.

The higher you go on the pyramid, the more “human” these pieces to the cognitive domain become in our age of digital disruption. The bottom half of the pyramid consists of elements rooted in science and math, subjects and competencies that are at the forefront of career paths younger generations are guided toward.

The fact that a computer can accomplish the math and science element of our world is troublesome for many; what happens when we do not need a science major, just as easily as we suddenly did not need to do longhand division with the emergence and integration of calculators into your smartphone?

The Art Side of Science

The answer to this lies in the top half of the pyramid, or what I refer to as the “soft skills.” These include evaluating, analyzing, and most importantly, creating.

In case you are wondering, I’m talking about art. Yes, you read that right—the art in science and math.

Many balk at that concept; how could art possibly be as important as science, math, and derivatives of those two subjects in school, such as computer science or programming?

If we consider what I said about the “human” half of Bloom’s Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain, it is extremely important! As machines get better at the science and math of industries, what’s left for the human being? The creative, critical-thinking side, which is learned through tactile, digital, and industrial arts. Art is how the human race competes against and beats A.I., to be so bold.

Consider something as serious as a heart surgeon. A machine may facilitate a less dangerous medical procedure; however, do you want a heart surgeon that merely knows how the machine works or one that thinks exponentially and knows when to jump in and take over if the machine cannot save you?

I personally prefer the hands-on doctor.

Teaching the Correct Competencies

Unfortunately, something I see far too frequently is that the education system is training young adults for future careers that may not exist in the near future.

Programming is a great example. We are training children to be programmers, but the reality is we will eventually have a computer that can program. We are not adequately preparing those children for what else they are capable of as cognitive, creative critical thinkers in the computer sciences. Many do not place a hint of emphasis on the art side of science, and this must change.

What we want is a society that thinks outside of the box to solve problems, save lives, and improve humanity. We do this by teaching augmented thinking and augmented physical behavior—augmenting your human abilities to work with the machines.

We are not taking a backseat to technology; we are finding a new place in society that the machines cannot replicate.

Plan the Future With an Anticipatory Mindset

The way we plan for the digitally disruptive future in the years to come goes far beyond just prioritizing the soft skills and art side of science; just as much depends on anticipation and the competencies behind my Anticipatory Leader System.

In said system, you learn how to identify what is a Hard Trend, or a future certainty that will happen as mentioned earlier in this article, and what is a Soft Trend, a future that maybe is open to influence.

Anticipation allows you to identify specific disruptive technologies both inside and outside of your industry, or the industry you are looking to enter as a student, and then work to understand what soft skills apply to those disruptive technologies.

Doing so not only keeps you above A.I. and autonomous technology but gives you a new purpose in an often noisy world.

Posted On Tuesday, 06 April 2021 00:00 Written by

“I watch other teams and ask myself, ‘What makes them win? Luck? Scheme? I’m constantly thinking of how to be better.” NIT Champion University of Memphis basketball coach Penny Hardaway

The spring market in 2021 is running hot right out of the gate.  Inventory of homes available are fewer and mortgage rates are still a little lower than the beginning of April last year. It's a terrific market for home sellers because of the ease of selling higher. It is an excellent win for homebuyers because they can lock into a fixed-rate mortgage rate that keeps their payment affordable.  If you are a homebuyer in this market, get teamed up with a very reputable realtor and mortgage lender.   With some persistent grind and savvy strategy from you and your realtor-lender team, you can win in this market. 

University of Memphis Tigers basketball coach Penny Hardaway said in an interview last week after Memphis won the NIT championship, "I watch other teams and ask myself, 'What makes them win?  Luck? Scheme?' I'm constantly thinking of how to be better."

Here are some strategies I see buyers using to get their home purchase offer accepted over multiple offers—being better is not always about price.

1. Get a very strong preapproval letter from their lender.  Having a local lender that people know can work in the buyer's favor.
2. Try to get a preapproval letter with the least number of contingencies.  If you know you will sell your current home later, go ahead and get mortgage approval qualifying with both the new mortgage payment and the old one, so your offer is not contingent on the sale of your home.   Lenders can help you find money to use for down payment until your old house sells.
3. Be flexible on the possession date. The sellers may feel better knowing they can stay in their home a few days after closing and take their time moving.
4. Be willing to pay up to a certain dollar amount for repairs on the home you are buying. 

These are just a few of the strategies buyers can use with their realtor-lender team because it is not always the highest price that wins. Many times, it is the surest offer.  

Posted On Monday, 05 April 2021 00:00 Written by
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About this time last year (2020) the NCAA basketball selection committee decided to cancel its March Madness basketball tournament due to the wild spike of COVID-19. However, they were bound and determined to hold this event in 2021, which they have done. At this writing, we are in the “Sweet Sixteen” week of this tournament.

However, much consideration had to be given to keeping the players, team personnel, game officials, and staff sequestered in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The NBA had set a pattern for that in 2020 by taking all of the same personnel to Orlando, Florida.

The NCAA selected Indianapolis, Indiana as their site for their 2021 March Madness, since the NCAA headquarters is located there with the city and surroundings having four stadiums and others close by as well and ample hotel space to house all that personnel. They held their breath hoping all would go OK.

Well, almost! The Virginia Commonwealth University Rams had multiple players affected by this virus and had to fly those players home while the rest of the team was sent home via bus, thus declaring their first game in March Madness “no contest.” At this writing, the committee is still holding its breath that no other team follows that path. That “no contest” advanced #7 seed Oregon on to play and defeat #2 seed Iona in the West division.

Perhaps one of the surprises in that 16 is that 25% (four of 16) are all from the Pac-12. This is an unusual number since the Pac-12 is often left with only one or two teams at this level with the Big 10 or SEC or ACC usually having three or four at that level. Upsets occur i.e., lower rankings often beating higher since the ranking system is somewhat subjective. Simply because one’s conference record is successful doesn’t mean such a team can succeed throughout. The committee does its best to consider all aspects in the ranking of teams.

More importantly, is that fans must consider that March Madness is “just another game.” Consider the fans who sent vile and threatening messages to Ohio State sophomore forward E.J. Liddell whose Buckeyes (ranked No. 2 in the South Division) lost 75-72 in OT) in the first round to No. 15 Oral Roberts University. These vile and threatening messages (one to the point of physically attacking E.J.) are just another hate message being rampant in America today. We must do all we can to overturn hatred.

Will you practice civility (helping others as well) in overcoming this despicable attitude?

Posted On Friday, 02 April 2021 00:00 Written by
Your Personal Velocity is about task accomplishment and the creation of positive momentum. High velocity will enable us to achieve more in a defined time frame. We can attain high velocity through focused direction and applied energy. This underlines the premise that it is vital to have your clarified goals in writing. No goals = No Velocity. Our mission today is to talk about how we can increase our velocity in a manner that gets our desired outcome in a timely manner.
 
In my decades of consulting and training with corporations, I have been amused at the intensity with which high-powered executives make things happen fast. By understanding velocity better we can sort out the derivation of exceptional results.
 
My friend, Minor Perkins, was the Executive Managing Director at Morgan Keegan Investment Bankers when one of his clients, a hotel company, lured him away to be president of their firm. It was an offer he couldn’t refuse! Minor was a high-velocity guy who loved the hunt and the adrenaline rushes of being in investment banking where things happened fast. The hotel company, while a great firm with outstanding team members, was a relatively low-velocity environment. He lasted two years there but he was going stir-crazy…he felt like he had been spending each day in the library! He went back to Morgan Keegan and everybody understood. He had a great run there and retired in his early sixties. His velocity paid off big time for him.
 
So what is velocity? I called my long-time friend, speaker, and author, Jim Cathcart, who is an expert on velocity, and asked him for a quote for this issue. Jim was happy to oblige. He said, “Velocity is a combination of your energy and drive; you can increase energy by exercise, rest, nutrition, stress management, and practice; drive is increased by your clarity of goals and the focusing of all your efforts in the direction of your desired outcome.”
 
So some people might have exceptional capabilities and an above-average IQ, but if they are low energy, they will likely be displaying low velocity, it will take them longer to get the desired outcome than a person of similar attributes but with higher energy being devoted to the goal at hand. If we work on energy improvement and can intensify our focus, we will likely enjoy higher velocity and thus better and faster results. This information might also be helpful to those who are tasked with recruiting high performers. Ask candidates questions that result in answers indicating exceptional energy and velocity.
 
Years ago, the legendary Arkansas football coach, Frank Broyles, was quoted as having said in a speech that “Luck follows speed”.  That is a simple but powerful athletic observation, but it says a lot. I’ve often said that high performers are the men and women who have the ability to compress more results into a given measurable time frame. Higher energy and more intense focus on the goal equal an impressive velocity and outcomes.

Are energy improvement and focused intensity learnable skills? I think the answer is yes. This is an excellent example of the importance of training and skill-building. Those who say great salespeople are born, not made, are right out of the dark ages. We’re not born to be great, we are trained and educated to be great. And a healthy primer on velocity can help all of us!

Posted On Friday, 02 April 2021 00:00 Written by


Allen Salmasi 1Allen Salmasi is a pioneer in the wireless industry with over 40 years of experience building leading edge companies. Mr. Salmasi is the Chief Executive Officer of Veea Inc. (“Veea”), a provider of full stack edge computing and communications platform products and solutions, founded in 2014. He is also Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NLabs Inc. and a member of the Board of Directors of several public and private companies.

Prior to founding Veea, Mr. Salmasi was the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of NextWave Wireless Inc., which he founded in 1995 and was acquired by AT&T in 2013. At NextWave, Mr. Salmasi and his team developed and largely implemented the first Mobile Virtual Network Operator (“MVNO”) service on a nationwide basis in the US in partnership with MCI Corp. NextWave also pioneered several major products and technologies, ranging from mixed-signal integrated analog/digital chipsets, multimedia technologies for smartphones, and packet-switched broadband wireless network equipment, which were acquired by major semiconductor companies, system integrators and media companies in separate transactions.

Prior to NextWave, he served as the President of Wireless Division, Chief Strategy Officer and a member of the Board of Directors at Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) from 1988 to 1995, where he initiated and led the development of the cellular products and business for Code Division Multiple Access (“CDMA”) technology. He established two joint ventures with Sony Corporation for manufacturing of the first CDMA handsets and Nortel Networks for manufacturing of CMDA infrastructure, while leading the technology licensing arrangements with many prominent early licensees of Qualcomm. Mr. Salmasi also initiated the Globalstar low-earth-orbit mobile satellite communications project.

Prior to Qualcomm, Mr. Salmasi was the Chief Executive Officer and President of Omninet Corporation from 1983 to 1988, where he initiated and led the development of OmniTRACS, which became the world’s first and largest commercial terrestrial mobile satellite communications service for two-way messaging and position reporting services that embodied the first large scale commercial application of CDMA in 1985. Mr. Salmasi began his career at NASA JPL in 1979 until he formed Omninet. He holds two bachelor’s degrees with honors in Electrical Engineering and Business Management and Economics from Purdue University and two master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and Applied Mathematics from Purdue University and the University of Southern California, respectively. While working at Omninet, he completed his doctoral coursework at University of Southern California towards a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering (with his dissertation defense pending).

Posted On Friday, 02 April 2021 00:00 Written by


Tammie Slay 1Tammie is a native Texan and has been a resident of Frisco, Tx for over 20 years.  Currently, she is the Broker/Owner of two real estate companies and the team leader of Hip Realty Group. Tammie has earned her CRS, GRI and SRS.

She is a wife, mother of four children, dog owner, multi-million dollar producer, team leader, entrepreneur, community volunteer and seven year awardee of the Five Star Professional Award. Words clients have used to describe Tammie are tenacious, engaging, the slayer, hip, dedicated, bold, loyal, protective, knowledgeable, MommaSlay, candid and trustworthy. 

Posted On Thursday, 01 April 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Wednesday, 31 March 2021 00:00 Written by

Have you ever noticed the unfairness that is the following statement:

If you do your job, no one has any idea how many times you’ve delivered, sacrifices made, miracles pulled off to make everything go smooth sailing…yet, if you fail to do your job only one time EVERYONE will notice!

How cruel is this life sometimes?

Now, here’s the next level of unfairness – what happens when YOU show up to do your job and SOMEONE ELSE has failed to do their job ahead of you, which leaves you unable to do yours?

That’s some lose-your-mind-craziness going on, if you’ve ever been there – Feel free to comment below and tell us the story that got you in trouble, lost (or nearly lost) your job, chuck a few friends/peers under the proverbial bus (don’t use names), and let’s all have an Empathy Party together!

(cue the Adam Sandler as Happy Gilmore gif angrily slamming a golf club into the sand)

Here’s my Story, which caused me to age 17 years in a span of 36 minutes last weekend…

~

I volunteer to serve in my church.

No one is paid for doing anything in our church no matter what position you are asked to fill, and some are asked to do more than others.

Even some pretty “unreasonable” duties, such as what I’m about to tell you I get to do.

For the past year I have been assigned to arrive at the church every 2nd Saturday before 6 AM to open the building and fill the baptismal font, which takes a quick 3 hours, prior to the 9 AM arrivals.  I then clean everything up and usually am done around noon.

This is a life-changing commitment of the participants, a promise made to be baptized and follow certain teachings, and a person is baptized only once in their lives.

To be candid, no one realizes I’ve done anything on this day, and people rarely even see me there, as they are focused on the important task at hand – as they should be – this is a big day.

No one calls to remind me to wake up, no one emails me a few days prior to give a heads up that I need to remember the 2nd Saturday ceremonies are happening – it’s an assignment that happens every month, and it’s something I don’t mess around with.

I know many people that wouldn’t do this job for money (as that is the reaction from people I’ve told this is my assignment).  You generally only do “unreasonable” when in service – for the commitment and promise it fulfills.  And it makes me happy.  So, to me, it’s an honor.  

For the last year, things have been different in this COVID-19 world we live in, as very few are allowed to attend these services, and rarely does anyone come in the building except on Sundays.

I arrived dutifully at 5:58 AM, even having fallen asleep well after 2 AM due to a child issue, and unlocked the main foyer doors, walked to the restroom to unlock the baptismal font doors, and after placing the drain plug, reached up for the ever-present faucet key to start the water…

That is when my heart stopped.  Or exploded.  You choose, but I haven’t experienced a real heart attack yet, and don’t want to, but I imagine it feels kind of similar to the feeling you get when the KEY IS MISSING!

And yes, my friends, there is only ONE KEY.  Ever made.  ONLY ONE.  And it was missing from it’s perfect little hiding spot, over 6-feet high on the wall hook where it’s labeled and supposed to always be (hanging along with the stick hook that unplugs the drain at the end of the ceremony).

There is even a label on the wall that says, “WATER CONTROL KEY”, and the accompanying keychain says the same.  It should never not be there.

Location where the all important key goes (the long stick with hook is for unplugging the drain)

Yes, that’s where it’s supposed to always be.  Especially at 6 AM on a Saturday morning.

Key was GONE!?!

I proceeded to go through every drawer and closet I have keys for, throughout the building.

Nada.

Raced home, ripped apart all drawers, rifled through all jackets, pockets, anywhere this could have accidentally been placed.

Nothing.

Knowing I was the last person to fill the font a month earlier, I knew I was in trouble, and yet couldn’t imagine I hadn’t returned the key to its rightful place on the special hook on the special wall in its special location.

Now it was 6:30 AM.

No progress made, I jumped in my car, driving back to the church, and began calling every leader in the community that might have a clue as to where the key was.

Unfortunately, 6:30 AM on a Saturday in our community is a No-Cell Zone time for every person I reached out to.  It’s called SLEEP.

Except for one person I knew would answer the phone if he saw me calling at 6:30 AM on the 2nd Saturday of the month: The Leader whom I report to in my church, the leader of our congregation, a man I never call for anything unless it’s an emergency.

After the 1st ring he groggily answered, saying, “Hello Jason, is everything ok?”

“President!  I’m sorry to call so early.  But the key to the baptismal font is gone!” I said in a shouting whisper, since by now I was back in the church running to the font to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me.

“You mean, the key that we only have one copy of, is gone?  The one that opens the metal panel that turns on the water?” he asked.

“YES! I must have lost it! I believe I was the last one to fill the font, but I’ve been home and gone through every place it could be, and it’s…it’s…gone!!!” I did my best not to sound desperate, but it was too late (I was starting to act like the uncle on “It’s a Wonderful Life” after he’s misplaced the money).

“Can you get behind the metal plate on the wall to reach the faucet without the key?  Or would you have a screw driver to break it open?” he suggested.

Well, I hadn’t thought about breaking it open!  I mean, this is a church for heck’s sake! Who’s breaking locks to do church stuff?

I thought we could just call the people and tell them it’s not going to happen today, and then leave everyone disappointed, but that’s no good, so there must be a solution…and when the leader said it was ok to break the lock to make this work today my eyes starting zipping back and forth like the bad guy who suddenly gets a good idea – although, I wasn’t smiling in a wiley way, just in a stunned way.

“No, I hadn’t considered it.  Are you giving me the go-ahead to break it?” I questioned.

“Well, if anyone’s going to break it, it should probably be me.  I have a crowbar and some tools, I’ll be right over”, he said, as he hung up.

Within 2 minutes, another leader I had left a message for, the keeper of all keys in the building, showed up with 3 tackle boxes of labeled keys for all three churches in our community.  We went through every key that could fit.  Nothing worked.  The missing key was a one-of-a-kind!

Suddenly, at the door stood our Leader, President Price.

We had only seen him before in a full suit and tie, but not in a moment’s notice on an early Saturday morning.  Nope, instead today as we donned our COVID masks in an attempt to break into the church font, there he stood: Jeans, Leather Jacket, Indiana Jones hat, wielding a crowbar, 2 different screw drivers, and a hammer.

The Man had arrived!

Quickly he assessed what could be done with the crowbar and screw driver.  Yes, it will definitely ruin the wall.

Instead, he assertively grabbed the metal plate, after cramming and fishing both hands around the top and bottom corners, and let out a grunt as he RIPPED the whole door open!

We looked at each other wide-eyed as the faucet handle looked back in shock!  No damage done!  The lock had even stayed in place and wasn’t broken!

I hurriedly turned on the faucet – it seemed to let out a sigh of joyous relief, having burdened so much pressure – and began to fill the all-important font.

Blood on the metal door!?  We then realized President Price had cut open his hand.

Indiana Jones style!

He washed it off, assigned our building leader to submit an email for multiple copies of the key to be made and kept throughout the building, both men left as I prepared the building for the day’s activities – setting chairs, cleaning and sanitizing, vacuuming, and making the restrooms hospitable for the many who would be changing clothing for their special day.

All went as planned and…

The End!

~

OK

So that’s the story.

Here’s the point.  Well, there’s a few points if you’re willing to read this much further.

POINT 1:

Had I slept in and the first group of people showed up at 9 AM to see the church not ready for this important day, then I’d be the Promise Breaker and everyone would blame me.

And yet, I’ve never slept in for this responsibility, to me it is SO important, one night I stayed up the whole night to make sure I didn’t sleep in.

POINT 2:

Had the font never been filled, key never found, metal plate not broken into, and people showed up at 9 AM with me sitting there with my head in my hands, I would have been the Promise Breaker for not having done whatever it took to get things ready.

Had I not called the Leader and him given us permission to do what had to be done to get things ready, I would have chosen the option of calling everyone after doing all I could, one person at a time, and saying we have to reschedule…which really isn’t an option for the people that are committing to this most important covenant of their lives.

POINT 3:

Had the KEY just been where it was…well, there wouldn’t be a story…there wouldn’t be a point.  It would just be me showing up to do something no one knows I do unless I don’t show up!

So, then the POINT would be: Keep Your Promise, Do Your Job and ALWAYS REMEMBER TO Return The Key!

POINT 4: 

Did you notice that every Leader I was able to get in contact with did all they could to come to my rescue?  Even if inconvenient, or not sure what to do, they came to create a solution!

That is the sign of Promise Leadership. 

FINAL POINT:

Sometimes the key is missing and there is no solution.

Usually the HULK doesn’t show up and rip open metal doors.

USUALLY you have to reschedule, apologize, and either get reprimanded, fired, or in my case, be released from the assignment and asked to step down from the position (which, as I’m writing this, may have been a great blessing to avoid having to wake up so early and have mishaps as such that others could deal with instead of me!).

But truth is: I love this responsibility.  Whether anyone knows I do it or not, and most people don’t even think about who does it, because it’s always done right and just miraculously happens without fail!

This monthly service opportunity allows me to really keep a great Promise every month, which I feel is significant, life-changing for participants, and beautiful that I get to be a part of.

I WANT to be the person the whole community relies on for this important moment, regardless of who knows I helped or not.

Thus my level of freaking out when the key was missing;

Thus my effort to find a solution to have the day go forward without a hitch;

Thus my doing whatever it took to get it done.

Thus the ultimate need of everyone to Keep The Promise and do the job right, in good order, to avoid this kind of mess…

Your Promise Prompt This Week:

What are you responsible for that goes unnoticed, but if you didn’t do it, would be noticed immediately?

What level of recognition do you need to keep this Promise to those relying on you?

Or are you comfortable being the servant leader when all goes right, and the fall guy when all goes wrong?

(even when it’s not your fault!)

(keep reading to see who we get to blame!) 

In other words: What is your Level of Promise?

~

And now, for the end of the story:

  • The KEY was located a day later, and no, it wasn’t in my possession as I had assumed it must be…as it had been accidentally kept by someone who didn’t know where it was supposed to go.  However, I’m not quite sure how that’s possible, due to the label on the wall and the keychain being as sized in the photo below.

  • The day was perfect and everyone was happy, while they were able to make great promises themselves for a lifetime of memories
  • Confession: President Price was actually wearing a baseball cap, and not the Indiana Jones hat, but I thought I should take a Hollywood liberty for the sake of storytelling.  That happens once in a while.  Just makes for a better story.  You’re welcome!

Source: JasonHewlett.com

Posted On Wednesday, 31 March 2021 00:00 Written by


A bit about Cyndi: 

CyndiGarzaCyndi Garza is a leader, owner of multiple businesses, speaker, trainer, and executive coach. Cyndi’s coaching career began when she joined a national mortgage firm to build a sales team in Michigan, which at the time was non-existent. She strategically recruited and trained a sales force of over 130 people, which — through her coaching — became the highest grossing team nationally for seven straight years by averaging just under a billion dollars in sales each fiscal year.

Since 2001, Cyndi has held leadership positions where she has had the opportunity to identify strengths within her team, and develop those strengths to push people to grow and achieve more than they had imagined possible for themselves.

Cyndi is the founder of Optimized Success — a coaching and training company with a focus on helping women find success in business ownership and leadership. Her personal motto is “You are entirely up to you”, and with his motto at the forefront of her coaching approach, Cyndi has helped countless clients to rapidly grow in their business and mindset. In fact, while utilizing her own 12-step coaching model, Optimized Success became profitable within the first 30 days of its founding and continues to experience significant monthly growth.

If you desire to see a significant increase in your income, revive your passion for your business, increase the productivity and enthusiasm from your team, or define a long-term vision for your business, do not hesitate to contact Cyndi Garza at Optimized Success. Cyndi’s team has the tools you need to succeed and the track record to support them!

Posted On Wednesday, 31 March 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Tuesday, 30 March 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Tuesday, 30 March 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Tuesday, 30 March 2021 00:00 Written by

Consumers have choices, so how do you stand out as the logical choice in your market? As always, differentiation often wins the day. My friend and longtime real estate expert Steve Harney would always say, “10% different is 100% better!” Since Steve helped build a hugely successful real estate company and then founded the highly regarded “Keeping Current Matters” platform for real estate professionals, I think he was on to something! 

So how do we create that 10% difference? How do we win more opportunities for ourselves, our clients, and our referral partners? I think in today’s market we can do this by helping set the stage for our clients and referral partners, as well as improving the quality of the experience for everyone by doing a great job upfront.

When a prospect calls, do we remember to ask them how they came to call us and to take a few minutes to explain to us exactly what they are trying to accomplish? Allowing the client to speak first and share their desires will help you respond to the issues that are important to them! Once they feel like you understand them, they are much more likely to accept your strategy for them to succeed! When you explain the benefits behind your strategy, the client and the agent representing them are armed to make the strongest possible offer and close in the shortest period of time.

By working with your clients and their selected real estate professional be prepared as best they can, the buyer and that agent can set the stage for the seller and that listing agent why your offer is a strong one, and one that will close quickly! In today’s market, it isn’t always about the most money, but speed and confidence in the deal closing and closing quickly can often win deals, even against higher offers that are lesser known or less reliable because you have set the stage by explaining the detail behind your preapproval process and your ability to close fast!

In this market it isn’t all about rates or money. Many deals are won because of confidence and speed! As I always say, “The rate isn’t great if the closing is late!” So look at your systems and your process. Take your time and help your people to an exceptional experience by setting the stage with a powerful success strategy! 

Questions or comments: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Posted On Monday, 29 March 2021 00:00 Written by

“It’s simple arithmetic: Your income can grow only to the extent that you do.” T Harv Eker

The pandemic year of 2020 caused some business people to prosper, and others have had to struggle to survive.  As a mortgage officer, I have heard customer stories as they describe their trek to keep home and business lights burning.  Mortgage rates are low and expected to stay relatively low through the year. However, the price of those rates has been rising over the last couple of months by about a half-point since January 2021. 

Business owners and workers who have experienced a gap in income during the lockdown period last year have been trying to recover as the marketplace opens again. For these beleaguered borrowers, we, as lenders, need to spend some time finding ways to get them enough income to qualify for the home loan they need to move forward with the life they want.   

Here are some solutions we have found for borrowers who were off work for a few months but returned to work.  

W2

If you are an employee on a salary or paid by the hour, you still may be able to qualify if you are back to working in the same line of business where you have the experience, and you have guaranteed income from your employer. 

Search for other income sources such as investment income or pension income.  Consider adding a co-borrower or cosigner to the loan if the borrower has additional resources to make the mortgage payments easily. Explore ways to restructure other debts or pay off some debt to reduce the amount of income needed to qualify for the mortgage. 

Self-employed

If your business suffered last year, but you still show enough net income after expenses on your 2020 tax return, you may still be able to qualify to buy a home or refinance your existing loan to better terms. Your lender can go over your tax return to find expenses that are sheltering you from taxes but can still be added back to your income for loan qualifying purposes.  

Some of the expenses that can typically be added back to qualifying income are depreciation or depletion write-offs, depreciable business miles, deductions for business use of your home, and once-in-a-lifetime expenses.  

Other solutions for getting self-employed borrowers approved for a mortgage are to document debts paid by the business for the last 12 consecutive months that are already deducted from business income.  Suppose the car payments and other debt appear on the borrower’s credit report but are paid by the business, and the  payments on those debts have already been deducted from business income. In that case, the chances are good those debt payments can be omitted from the total income-to-debt ratio.

As real estate and mortgage professionals, taking the extra time to explore the best solutions for our customers gives us trusted advisor status with the people we serve.  The solutions we help them find gives our customer hero status with their loved ones.  

Posted On Monday, 29 March 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Monday, 29 March 2021 00:00 Written by
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