Today's Headlines - Realty Times

“Being challenged in life is inevitable; being defeated is optional.” Roger Crawford

Values are high, and rates are lower than they have been in a few weeks. Pressure builds to  buy your first home or sell the one you have  in order to buy your next one.  Finding and financing your next home seems to run smoothly until you run up on some challenges.   How do you conquer challenges and move to your celebration day?

Here are the four common barriers homebuyers face when buying their home.

Lack of funds to close. When the bank account is short on funds, it is time to pull out the treasure map.  Can you borrow against your 401k retirement fund?  Do you have a cash value on a life insurance policy?  Gifts from family members are helpful. Look into local down payment assistance programs. Ask about getting a loan secured on a different home or asset to provide funds to close on the new house. 

Debts too high, income too low. Look for additional income like annual bonuses. A good loan officer knows how to add certain expenses on the self-employed borrower’s tax return back to income like depreciation, depreciable business miles, business use of home, and other items.   The loan officer may find that the borrower's answer is to rearrange debt to lower debt-to-income ratios.   

Low Credit Scores- If you need to add about ten to fifteen points on your credit score to get a better price for your mortgage rate, you might try paying down your revolving credit card balances to show that you use less than 30% of the credit limits on each card.  Once the credit card companies report the lower owed balances, there is a good chance the credit scores will improve.  

Appraisal problem- When the appraisal comes back showing repairs that pertain to the structure, security, or sanitation of the home, these repairs must be completed before closing. Loan program exceptions allow repairs to be completed after closing, but funds have to be put in an escrow account to cover them. In some instances, the seller gets the contractor to repair the home and agrees to pay the contractor after the home closing.  

The homebuyer still takes home the gold when they call on real estate professionals to help conquer these obstacles.  A good realtor, mortgage officer, title company, and others make great teammates for the homebuyer. 

What do YOU want to accomplish with YOUR mortgage?  Make your plan. Let’s work your plan. If the deal works for you today, let’s do it today.   Let’s explore YOUR options. Connect at  

Posted On Monday, 19 April 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Monday, 19 April 2021 00:00 Written by
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Posted On Sunday, 18 April 2021 00:00 Written by

Judy LaDeurJudy LaDeur, President of Judy LaDeur International, specializes in helping Brokers, agents and team leaders build strong profitable businesses.

As a highly successful coach, business-owner and entrepreneur for over 30 years, Judy knows what it takes to be successful. As Rookie of the year, number one salesperson, and a top earner, Judy learned early on the value of setting herself apart from other agents and how to knock out her competition. When Judy was asked to join the leadership team of her organization, she quickly learned that Brokers needed to set themselves apart as well. Her personalized approach shows agents, brokers and recruiters how they can rise above the competition and become the obvious choice in their market. Her unique ability to see value, opportunity and to bring out the best in others is what sets her apart. Top performers have coaches because they perform better and earn more money with a coach than they do without them – and you can too. Why? Because the right coach gives you the attention, objective insight, feedback, direction and accountability that help you achieve your desired goal. Working with the right coach will make all the difference in how business flows your way.  To schedule a 15-minute consultation with Judy LaDeur, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or sign up today!

Posted On Friday, 16 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, 16 April 2021 00:00 Written by

Perhaps you noticed the word “Unity” painted on the floor at Lucas Oil Stadium during the semifinal game of March Madness between UCLA and Gonzaga. Surely, if you watched that game, you also noticed that both teams played with excellent unity to the point that, in the opinion here, neither team lost – only at the end Gonzaga had 3 more points than UCLA. Credit must go to each team for an exciting game.

You probably noticed the unity and excellent work of the CBS announcing crew of Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, and Bill Raftery, along with the CBS camera crew to capture all the exciting action. Allow me to add that the officiating crew of the three-game officials allowed the players enough latitude to perform well. Another example of unity. Allow me to also point out that official Ron Groover made a courageous charging call against a Bruin dribbler in the overtime that gave the ball to Gonzaga. The charging/blocking foul is the most difficult to call in all of basketball.

Surely you noticed the buzzer-beater shot by Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs that bounced off the glass, then the front rim and dropped through as time expired, which was the margin of victory. It was one of the most exciting finishes in March Madness history!

However, did you also notice Gonzaga coach Mark Few as the buzzer-beater dropped through? He got up, turned to his left and walked toward Mick Cronin, UCLA’s head coach to offer his condolences and congratulations on a great game. Coach Few didn’t run on the court to celebrate with his players, but his first gesture was of concern for a colleague who had just lost a heartbreaker. Pardon the pun, but there are “few” who would do that.

It is important to mention that the final game of the NCAA Women’s final four produced another winner for Tara VanDerveer, head coach of the Stanford Cardinal who won her first championship since 1992. Coach VanDerveer is of the same sportsmanship (oops, change that to sportwomanship) as Mark Few.

My point in Unity is that we can have competition – striving to win – without name-calling and animosity. We must remember that we are all in the same activity. Then unity can happen!

Will you strive for unity in every aspect of your life?

Posted On Friday, 16 April 2021 00:00 Written by

JohnRuhlin HeadshotAfter applying principles of generosity learned from “Attorney Paul,” John started selling the largest deals in Cutco history out of 1.5 million other reps and distributors. Yes. 1.5 million. Not only was he gifting knives but he was being asked to speak on stages around the country to teach sales and marketing teams how to build relationships in unconventional ways. Simple but powerful things like focusing your care on the executive’s spouse, the assistant, and kids.

Ruhlin Group started in 2000 and quickly broadened gifting options and strategies, but many of the original principles never changed. Knowing how and when to give gifts is just as important as what to gift. These “minor” details and expert knowledge have been tested and proven over a decade to bring a guaranteed “wow” to any industry from financial services to manufacturing widgets.

Today John and his team have created gift packages for some of the largest companies and pro sports teams in the world, but their mission and heart is to serve and take relationships for mid-sized, privately owned businesses to a new level using their Proven Process.

After spending a long time deliberating on things like is self publishing a book a good idea, John decided to write a book that would share his ideology and the way he works in his industry to reach new levels of success. But sure to check out John’s new book, Giftology here:

Posted On Thursday, 15 April 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Thursday, 15 April 2021 00:00 Written by

Pandemic Garage Syndrome. 

That’s what we can call it.

Have you found yourself drowning in clutter, as we have?

It’s not that we bought a ton of items, quite the contrary.  During the pandemic we hunkered down, digging into every little corner of our house, restarting projects we’d meant to do for years, pulling junk from the attic and opening every bin we’d ever stored.

Next thing we know, we are swimming in…stuff!  OUR STUFF!

To the point of being unable to park in the garage!  (I believe cars are supposed to go in there – at least, that’s what I’ve heard, and seen others do – like some weird kind of envy – suburban parking envy – few things rival this dark Keeping Up With The Jones feeling.)

Recently I was looking for the number to call the TV Show “Hoarders” to see if that might embarrass our family enough into cleaning out the garage…(you see, I’m an “S” in the *DISC assessment, so I actually just thought about doing this, but then just wrote about it, and in the end didn’t go through with it…but that’s for another conversation.)

But I guess all it took was getting angry enough at ourselves for having to look at that mess every single time we opened the garage door.

And then, last Saturday, I finally had enough (The “D” in me – *DISC – kicked in).

I took a photo of our horrific garage, grabbed a box of matches, a can of kerosene, and then slowly set the matches and kerosene down, and one by one began taking each solitary item out of the garage.

What had been The Great Clutter Catch-All Garage soon became The Embarrassing Driveway Disaster Scene.  

People driving by would slam on their brakes, and then back up, laugh heartily, and then drive away.

Neighbors came over to make sure we hadn’t flooded the house.

2 robbers stopped by and looked at each other, shrugged, and could be heard saying, “Well, I guess someone else got here before we did!” 

It was such a mess.

Everywhere, a disastrous and necessary painful mess.

The kids were doing snow angels in reusable COSTCO, ROSS and Trader Joe’s bags, of which we have 187 (sadly, not joking, and yes, the “C” in me counted – *DISC reference).

We lost the dog 13 times in the pile of helmets.

I realized I could rappel from the rain gutter of my home to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, 366 miles away, just using our collection of extension and bungee cords.


As my wife and I slowly chopped away at 16 years of living in the same home, we determined we had to reorganize a few necessities (such as taking cabinets off the walls in order to free up wall space for kids bikes, consolidating multiples of old items for perhaps just one of each, and even going through every tool bag and nail/screw box, getting it down to one section of the space), and most importantly:


That’s the tough part.

We like our things, even those we don’t use, because, “someday we will”.

Someday has arrived, and we have survived, without most of those things.

As we loaded the cars to drive to goodwill, it felt not sad, not nostalgic, not felt liberating.

Soon we were having fun seeing how much we didn’t need.

Ordering a dumpster wasn’t even an option, as others must be doing the same thing, you can’t get one until mid-May.

No worries, the matches and kerosene are on standby in case we just absolutely go for the glory!

Pretty soon we had a garage that was – CLEAN!

How long will it remain like that?  Who knows.  Probably a few days.  But for now it’s amazing!

We are determined not to let it get back to the way it was, and we’ll see, but gosh, it sure is awesome right now.

The Question was: Why didn’t we do this earlier? 

The shame and sorrow and embarrassment of having a garage looking like this, even if no one but me and the birds and that one pest control poison sprayer guy saw it, just the thought of our garage was enough to make me shrivel.

Truth is: Removing the debris is not easy.

Actually, let me put it this way: STARTING and CONTINUING the removal process is not easy.  

However, once you begin, and the spirit of what you’re doing kicks in, it becomes FUN!

And then you come up with great solutions to make things better (here comes the “I” in me – *DISC reference again!).

And next thing you know, you’re putting the matches and kerosene in the perfect spot, at the ready for the next time you have the thought.

*DISC: What is this, you ask?  Learn more with us at The Promise Institute


Recently I heard a talk from one of the wisest men I’ve ever known, 96-year old Russell M. Nelson, as he pondered profound lessons while watching a sacred building being remodeled, and which gave me the prompting for this blog post:

Nelson says, “As I have watched workers dig out old tree roots, plumbing, wiring, and a leaky fountain, I have thought about the need for each of us to remove…the old debris in our lives.”

A simple, yet powerful thought – and what can it mean for each of us in every aspect of our lives?


Your Promise Prompt for the Week:

Write in the Comments some old Debris you Promise to Remove from your Life this Week!  

Not only am I cleaning out the garage and re-organizing, but I have also removed 2 apps from my phone that have been distracting me.  I just load them back on the phone when I need them, and have something to contribute, rather than having them on there all the time, and then remove them again.

I also went through a huge virtual stack of emails, deleted the least important, extracted the essential details, and entered what is needed in my CRM for future reference.  Wow I feel so much better!

How about you?

How are you Removing Old Debris from Your Life?

~ Jason Hewlett



Posted On Wednesday, 14 April 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Tuesday, 13 April 2021 00:00 Written by

Whether it is a global pandemic or everyday disruptions, most of us default to reaction and agility when faced with a crisis.

For many, reactionary behavior is all they know; the only option in dealing with disruption is to find the nearest metaphorical fire extinguisher and cauterize the problem immediately. However, in our current COVID-19 world, agility and reactionary behavior is even less productive than it was before.

Digital disruptions were already going through the roof and are now accelerated even further as the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G connectivity, and groundbreaking innovation in a multitude of industries debuted as a way to respond to COVID-19 and the subsequent global shutdown.

And don’t think for a second that it is only white-collar jobs being digitally disrupted; the trades, manufacturing, and industry are in the hot seat like never before. We’ve seen it happen in robotic arms assembling motorcycles at Harley Davidson, augmented reality (A.R.) in supply chain management, and most recently, a 3D-printed home in New York

Construction Has Gone Digital

You heard me right; the same technology that has 3D-printed everything from action figures to a synthetic hand for an amputee just successfully 3D-printed a 1,400-square-foot home in rural New York.

If that doesn’t turn heads in the blue-collar world, I don’t know what will!

As a consumer, you likely have many questions regarding the structural integrity of a home that has been printed, or you might be wondering how much of the home was printed. Rest assured, this house is not made from plastic polymer; the printers use concrete to lay a footing, the foundation, and then the interior and exterior walls.

Essentially, this home is a rock-solid structure that is 50% of the cost of a traditionally built home.

Should We Fear Automation in Construction?

Absolutely not, and here’s why.

Physically, the structure is being constructed by a multitude of large 3D printers over the course of six to eight hours, but the engineering behind it and other mechanical features, such as plumbing, electrical, and finish work, are all human.

I recently wrote an article about the “soft skills,” or the art side, of every career, and this is a good example of where it applies. A digital advancement like additive manufacturing in the construction world may disrupt the status quo of several carpenters; however, using my Anticipatory mindset to pre-solve problems you as a carpenter will face in this new frontier reveals entirely new opportunities in your career!

A 3D printer is not a sentient being; it needs you to tell it what to do correctly. In a way, this breakthrough is no different than a time when heavy machinery that moves heavy materials replaced hundreds of humans doing it. A bucket loader or skid steer needs a human being to operate it, even if those eventually become somewhat autonomous themselves.

Anticipation and Agility

Truth be told, we cannot predict the future flawlessly. There will always be the need to be agile and reactionary. 

The pandemic has leveled the playing field and, as mentioned before, accelerated digital disruptions by way of companies finding cost-saving measures to bounce back and, in some cases, stay afloat during the uncertain future.

What those companies are doing is implementing my Anticipatory Organization Model by paying attention to the Hard Trends shaping the future of both their industries and the vast world outside of their day-to-day operations. Hard Trends are future certainties, and when you base your actions on certainty, it is far lower risk than relying on uncertainty, which is what Soft Trends are based on, and is open to influence. It is a simple cognitive act of asking yourself, What can we be certain about in our future?

However, companies’ initial realization of evident digital disruptions heading their way is reactionary. Therefore, I’m not saying you must eliminate agility and reactionary behavior entirely from your workflow; that’s an impossibility. What I’m encouraging you to do is to act; when you research the Hard Trends taking shape, move beyond just reacting to them negatively and apply my Anticipatory Organization model to stay ahead of the curve before disruption hits home.

Stay Ahead of Disruption

Disruption, whether a pandemic or digital transformation of even the most non digital industries, is actually an opportunity to move beyond success into significance.

In the 3D-printed house example, construction companies are observing a few different Hard Trends: the pandemic will end, we will be in a different world financially, and digital technology is becoming a Both/And solution to saving money and improving the lives of humankind.

Therefore, they are staying ahead of the curve by using that knowledge to pre-solve problems their traditional contractors face and are seeing an opportunity to build structurally sound houses for the younger generations looking to buy in a time in history we haven’t seen in over a century.

If the construction industry can be anticipatory with its operations, how can you apply it to yours? Sign up today for my Anticipatory Leader System to learn how you can leverage disruption and change to your opportunity and advantage today!

Posted On Tuesday, 13 April 2021 00:00 Written by

Has this ever described your day?

You wake up in the morning rested and excited about your day. After doing yoga/gratitude journal/a walk (or whatever self-care you enjoy most), and eating a healthy breakfast, you head to your desk, ready to tackle the day.  You quickly deal with new emails and issues that need resolved, then focus on your prospecting calls. 

Next, it’s time for your first appointment, and you arrive 15 minutes early.  After that, you pick up a salad and head to the park to enjoy your lunchbreak on a beautiful day. Feeling energized, you handle your afternoon appointments and a scheduled closing. 

After handing over the keys to your excited new home buyers, you arrive home feeling happy that you were able to help someone’s dream come true. After a relaxing evening as you get ready for bed, you are filled with gratitude that you work in such a rewarding career and are able to help so many people. You quickly fall asleep …. 

Are you thinking to yourself there is no way that scenario bears any resemblance on the life of a real estate agent? Not to most agents! 

In fact, you can personally attest to the fact that you spent the entire day frantically running around putting out fires.  Lunch? What’s that? You grabbed an espresso and a bagel as you rushed to your next meeting, arriving late to every appointment that day.  You spent the catching up on emails, and by midnight, collapsed into bed, dead-tired, but unable to sleep because of the list of what’s on your plate for tomorrow running through your head.  As you beat yourself up for not getting more done on that endless to-do list, you ask yourself again whether this level of stress is even worth those big commission checks.

If you are nodding your head agreeing with our stressed-out, exhausted agent, you are not alone. The truth is the real estate industry is often unpredictable, and feels out of control.

Let’s face it, if you are like most salespeople, events of the day control YOU, not the other way around. Too often, entrepreneurs are reactive as they attempt to do it all, multi-tasking and juggling multiple responsibilities, with never a moment to actually work ON their business and to plan their day.

While you can’t make real estate a consistent and predictable business, every agent can take steps to harness the daily chaos, and achieve a life that is more balanced.  The key to your sanity lies in operational excellence. 

Operational excellence means you have systems in place that will ensure that no detail gets overlooked, which reduces the stress of distractions and last-minute hiccups.  Systems allow you to focus on profit generating initiatives that increase your bottom line, instead of constantly putting out fires.  It’s time to set up your business AS a business and implement processes and systems to regain control!

With systems that are well-organized and consistently executed, the outcomes are more easily monitored and measured, and the daily chaos is tamed. Scheduling regular income-producing activities allows your cash flow to stabilize, helping you avoid the ups and downs of this industry.

Operational excellence starts with a plan, and incorporates the details that allow you to work ON your business as well as IN your business to attain your desired results and enjoy balance in your life. 

• You have to know where you want to go.  A strategic plan focused on specific outcomes will help you prioritize dollar-productive activities first.  Start with a vision for the next 90 days, and track your progress. 

• Plan your days in advance, not on the fly! Creating a non-negotiable time-blocking schedule for your day/week/month is one of the most successful tools for taming your schedule.  Time-block for the actions that will make your strategic plan possible, and schedule dollar-productive activities, such as prospecting, each day.  The excuse that you can’t time-block your schedule is bunk.  If you don’t schedule the time to complete those income-producing initiatives, you will forever be reactionary, and likely to burn out. 

• Create detailed action plans.  Don’t confuse a “wish list” with an action plan.  Action plans are the steps you need to follow to get to your destination. Automation, delegation, and consistent measurement are the keys to materializing your end result. The most important step is to set up the action plans for each project or initiative with deadlines and milestones to make it happen.   

• You aren’t afraid to delegate the small stuff!  Hiring out those time consuming, but not money-making activities is the key to setting yourself up for earning more and doing less. Don’t think you can’t afford it either!  If you are paying yourself to do drop offs, you get paid like an Uber driver.  Keep track of your time and see where you can empower someone else to do what you don’t need to do. Focus on dollar productive and you’ll enjoy less stress and more productivity. 

The real key here is your mindset.  By controlling your focus, you control your behavior, choices, the actions that follow, and the outcomes you intend.  Incorporating even one simple system that is plugged into your day, and you will be on your way to creating habits that build for success and allow you to reach your goals with energy to spare. Establish your operational excellence through systems and team initiatives and create a win-win for you, your team, and your clients!

Posted On Tuesday, 13 April 2021 00:00 Written by

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

Posted On Monday, 12 April 2021 00:00 Written by
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Posted On Sunday, 11 April 2021 00:00 Written by

 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
Posted On Friday, 09 April 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Thursday, 08 April 2021 00:00 Written by
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.


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



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
Posted On Monday, 05 April 2021 00:00 Written by
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