What does the term “culture” mean? For many, it is possible that they envision the word representing a race, ethnicity, or religion. The reality is that culture is actually much more complex than most realize, especially when it pertains to a business or organization, and what defines culture at a business or organization is how they serve customers and significantly improve the world.

In this month’s Opportunity Hour: Conversations with the Masters, I had the privilege to meet with a longtime friend of mine and esteemed colleague Scott McCain. Scott is a customer experience and sales expert who prepares companies and individual contributors to create distinction from the inside out and achieve iconic status—something we want to explore thoroughly in today’s blog.

Both Scott McCain and I have a similar goal: help clients create more compelling connections, provide ultimate customer experiences, and stand out personally and professionally in lasting ways. To do this, we both know that a company must become both distinctive and iconic, but how? We have solutions for all!

Greatness Is a Facade Without Being Distinctive and Iconic

In the past, many businesses and organizations have been coined as being great. Without trying to painstakingly define what the term “great” actually means, the generality is that they made a lot of money or perhaps made a product or service that disrupted the world positively.

But what’s interesting is that within years of those businesses or organizations achieving perceived greatness, each one found themselves in a dramatic decline. What could have possibly happened to cause such a downturn?

First and foremost, I have identified that these businesses and organizations all failed to anticipate disruptions by identifying Hard Trends that were shaping their futures. Secondly, Scott has identified that they were good and even great entities, but they were not iconic and distinctive organizations!

So what happens when good just isn’t good enough and, moreover, what are some insights into how a business or organization can sustain greatness by becoming truly iconic and distinctive?

Create a Distinct and Iconic Customer and Employee Experience

Scott McCain explained during this month’s Opportunity Hour that becoming distinctive and iconic in your industry all goes back to how both customers and employees experience your business or organization.

This is where that concept of culture comes in. For instance, Scott made a reference to the popular coffee chain Starbucks during our conversation. He noted that a local coffee shop or smaller coffee company may be distinctive in their area, but Starbucks has become iconic as well as distinctive as a result of the culture they foster both internally for their employees and externally for their customers.

Scott and I believe that both a distinctive and iconic culture should transcend the categorization of an industry. Starbucks has become both distinctive and iconic for creating an internal and external culture that many businesses and organizations in diverse industries want to emulate.

The good news here is that there is really no secret behind how to create a great customer and employee experience to become distinctive and iconic—it is rather simple, really! According to Scott, customer experience is about the emotion that an individual customer is left with and tied to that is the feeling an employee gets from working at the business or organization.

You Cannot Copy and Paste Culture

Distinctive and iconic business culture cannot be copied verbatim.

While we have all heard the phrase penned by Pablo Picasso, “Good artists borrow; great artists steal,” this is not a ubiquitous application as it pertains to culture. For this concept, Scott discusses Southwest Airlines and their distinctive and iconic humor during in-flight safety instructions that has helped them stand out greatly in the industry.

If American Airlines or United Airlines were to try their hand at this, it would likely come off as repetitive and not have the same effect. Duplicating what has already been done before and expecting the same if not better results is madness, and to relate it to real-world examples in the entertainment industry, Scott takes us back to the Sinatra days.

While Frank Sinatra was crooning, many wondered who the next Sinatra would be? Well, it was Elvis, who was nothing like Sinatra! And then we wondered who would be the next Elvis, and it turned out to be The Beatles who again were nothing like Elvis. This continues down the line with Michael Jackson following The Beatles, Garth Brooks following Michael Jackson, and so forth.

The point here is that the same thing cannot be done twice, but that there are boundless opportunities to become distinctive and iconic by connecting an Anticipatory mindset to your corporate culture and to use Hard Trends to determine what you can do to be the next disruptor of your industry and the world!

Don’t Just Meet Customer Expectations  Exceed Them!

Scott McCain agrees: Meeting and more importantly, exceeding customer and employee expectations is an ideal way to create a distinctive and iconic business and organization culture.

All business leaders and C-Suite executives should ask themselves if they feel they have built their company’s culture around a competitor they benchmark against. If you are only offering enough to keep up with the competition as opposed to being the trailblazer in your industry and the world, you will only barely meet customer and employee expectations.

Anticipation and an Anticipatory mindset as a business leader always allows you to look far enough into the future to see the Hard Trends that will disrupt you, your employees, and, most importantly, your customers. Knowing what is ahead makes risk-taking much less risky, and then you can double down on being both innovative and creative. This is how you become distinctive and iconic!

Additionally, learn to communicate not just facts about products and services to employees and customers, but create an emotional user experience that resonates with them indefinitely, just as Starbucks and Southwest Airlines have in their own way.

So, does your business or organization have a distinctive and iconic culture? Find out how you can create one with my Anticipatory Organization® Model today!

Posted On Tuesday, 31 January 2023 00:00 Written by

When you have suffered an injury caused by someone else, you may be able to obtain compensation through a personal injury claim. Depending on the details of your case, damages could include medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, and the cost of future medical treatments. If you have been seriously injured in an accident, it is important to have Rockford personal injury lawyer on your side.

 A lawyer can help you deal with the insurance company and make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Even if you are not sure whether or not you need a lawyer, it is always a good idea to consult with one. A consultation is usually free, and it will give you a chance to learn more about your rights and options.

Identifying the At-Fault Party

One of the first steps in gathering evidence for your personal injury case is determining who was at fault for your accident. Depending on the circumstances, this could be an individual person, a company, or a government entity. It is important to identify all potentially liable parties so you can make sure you are getting fair compensation.

Establishing Liability in Your Personal Injury Case

It means proving to the court or insurance adjuster that another party was negligent or careless in some way and acted with either intention or without due care, causing you harm. In order to prove liability, there must be evidence that shows fault or blame on that other party.

There are different kinds of evidence you can gather and present to the court that can help prove your case, such as:

Documentary Proof: Documentation such as bills, records, or accident reports is critical in establishing your damages and liability. Relevant proof should include invoices for medical bills listing procedures performed along with any expenses you incurred. You should also collect any accident reports or law enforcement statements associated with the incident.

Medical Records: A comprehensive overview of all treatments received along with diagnoses made by physicians, is an important element that must be included in all claims. These records should comprehensively list the type or treatments received, the dates treatment occurred over time as well as a description of any lasting effects on your health functioning due to injury suffered from negligence or intentional harm.

Physical Evidence: Any physical artifacts related to the incident may be used when filing a claim against another party for their negligent actions leading up to its occurrence, such as broken glass from a car window in an auto collision case. In some instances, items related may not pertinent but should still be collected unless determined otherwise by counsel–in which case items can usually still be presented during pre-trial depositions on record at a minimum, even if not admissible during the trial itself.

Witness Testimony: Obtaining statements from any persons who observed the event is essential in providing an unbiased perspective regarding alleged events while supporting one’s initial claims made before the court (e..g what was seen happened). Witnesses must have relevant personal knowledge, which gives their statement credence in order for it to be used as supportive proof, which reinforces one’s position during the trial. Ultimately whether from attacking liability instead of shifting towards it depends on the credibility attached statement where credibility is gauged initially upon qualifications attesting testimony being provided).

Expert Opinions: Expert opinions will often provide complex legal issues when building out any complicated negligence cases which require explanations far beyond typical comprehension within layperson experience, including sophisticated medical advances demonstrating state medical science/ practice at the time being defended against within context dispute itself, making opinion valuable appeal lawyer seeking winning slot prospective jury judgment stated legal issue(s).

Documents Showing Lost Wages Or Income: You may be able to obtain documents showing lost wages if you had to miss work due to an injury that was caused by another person's negligence or wrongdoing. These documents could include doctor's notes indicating whether a person was unable to continue working because of their injury or stay-at-home orders due to mandated recovery periods.

Having a well-documented case increases the chances of success in your personal injury claim and greatly reduces the possibility of any discrepancies. Such records should be organized in chronological order, so they’re easy to read and navigate when presenting them as part of your evidence.

You should also keep track of all consequential expenses incurred during the course of your treatment; this type of compensation is referred to as loss-of-value damages in personal injury cases. All documents should be gathered before filing a claim; remember that to succeed with maximum compensation for losses incurred from an injury caused by another’s negligence or carelessness will require substantial proof.

Conclusion

Gathering evidence and documentation for your personal injury case is one of the most important steps you can take in order to maximize your claim. By ensuring that you have all the necessary information and evidence, you are giving yourself a better chance at getting the compensation that you rightfully deserve. While it may seem overwhelming, with a little bit of organization, patience, and persistence, collecting all of the required documents should be manageable. Once done correctly; however, this step could help make or break your case, so don't skip out on gathering evidence!

Posted On Monday, 30 January 2023 13:17 Written by

Posted On Monday, 30 January 2023 00:00 Written by

I said last week I was going to try and share my thoughts on coaching and mentoring. For me, this is the single most overlooked area of our industry, and one that takes some time and effort to get ahead of. Far too many companies and managers just try and find skilled people and throw them into a position and expect things to just work out. While that may happen at some level, you are basically just allowing people to function as they have always functioned, but never really growing in experience and productivity because they continually just repeat what they already know. As the great Greg Frost has said “Being in the mortgage business for eight years doesn’t mean you have eight years’ experience, you likely have just repeated your first year in the business seven times!”

I wanted to share my insights here and today we will see an overview of what I call “The Five Areas of Mentoring” and I will break down each one of these areas each week over the next five weeks. Those five areas are: 

  1. 1. The Rules of the Game
  2. 2. The Tools of the Game
  3. 3. How to WIN the Game
  4. 4. Attracting Participants to the Game
  5. 5. Keeping Connected to those who Played the Game 

 

Some of us have mastered a few of these points, others have not. Most of those who will read this may have never even thought about these points, while others aren’t aware that they even exist. For those of you that have followed my work over the years, you are likely to see familiar terms. Over the next month or so, you will have a reasonable understanding of each of these concepts and how to master each area and help others do the same.

Information is always important, but execution is essential! I want to help you with both! If you would like to go deeper on these areas or are looking to set up your own mentoring program and would like some help; it’s This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Posted On Monday, 30 January 2023 00:00 Written by

Pending home sales increased in December for the first time since May 2022 — following six consecutive months of declines — according to the National Association of RealtorsÒ. The Northeast and Midwest recorded month-over-month reductions, while the South and West posted monthly gains. All four U.S. regions saw year-over-year decreases in transactions, with the West experiencing the largest decline at 37.5%.

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)* — a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings — improved 2.5% to 76.9 in December. Year-over-year, pending transactions dropped by 33.8%. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.

“This recent low point in home sales activity is likely over,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Mortgage rates are the dominant factor driving home sales, and recent declines in rates are clearly helping to stabilize the market.”

Pending Home Sales Regional Breakdown

The Northeast PHSI dropped 6.5% from last month to 64.7, a decrease of 32.5% from December 2021. The Midwest index shrank 0.3% to 77.6 in December, a decline of 30.1% from one year ago.

The South PHSI rose 6.1% to 94.1 in December, dropping 34.5% from the prior year. The West index advanced 6.4% in December to 58.6, decreasing 37.5% from December 2021.

“The new normal for mortgage rates will likely be in the 5.5% to 6.5% range,” Yun added. “Job gains will steadily become important in driving local home-sales markets. The South, in particular, is set to outperform the rest of the country, thanks primarily to better job market conditions in this part of the country compared to other regions.”

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.5 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. The term Realtor® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.

Posted On Friday, 27 January 2023 07:16 Written by

Have you ever wished you could predict the future—and be right? What would it be like if you could clearly see critical changes in the months and years ahead, and use those glimpses to shape that future instead of just letting it unfold by default? 

You can accurately predict enough of the future to make all the difference. In fact, you can hone your ability to trigger a burst of accurate insight about the future and use it to produce a new and radically different way of doing things. Being anticipatory is about looking into the future and transforming it into a new paradigm for solving “impossible” problems, unearthing “invisible” opportunities, and positioning yourself as a leader in your organization and industry. 

I have discovered seven principles or “triggers” that accelerate innovation and growth. They are:

#1 Start with Certainty (use Hard Trends to see what’s coming)

You can use the power of certainty to spot and profit from future trends long before your competitors do. Just look at Apple, who accurately saw the trends of accelerating bandwidth, processing power, and high-capacity storage and harnessed them to create the mega hits iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and iPad. Meanwhile, Polaroid, Kodak, and Motorola spent years clinging to analog models while their competitors triumphed by grasping the arrival of the digital age. 

Likewise, GM failed to respond to trends that were obvious for over a decade (rising gas prices driven by increased global demand from China and India, and improving quality from foreign rivals), and Blockbuster lost out to Netflix by failing to embrace the leap to virtual space. 

Remember 1999, when the U.S. government predicted a trillion-dollar surplus? We’ve all made similar, wildly wrong predictions because we confuse cyclical change (the stock market) with linear change (population growth), and don’t know how to distinguish Hard Trends (baby boomers are aging) from Soft Trends (there won’t be enough doctors to treat aging baby boomers). However, by distinguishing what’s certain (future fact) from what’s uncertain (future maybe), you can make accurate predictions.  

Anyone can avoid the fate of Polaroid, Kodak, Motorola, GM, and Blockbuster, and instead create must-have products and high-demand services—as Apple, Canon, Toyota, Netflix, and so many others have—by seeing what others can’t: the Hard Trends that are shaping our future. 

#2 Anticipate (base your strategies on what you know about the future)

Change from the outside in is typically disruptive. Change from the inside out is purposeful and constructive. This is the kind of change that allows you to direct your future and seize your destiny. And the only possible way to operate in that kind of change is by becoming anticipatory.

Based on the certainty of Hard Trends, this is about asking yourself, 

  • What are the problems I am about to have? 
  • What problems will my company be facing in the next few weeks, months, years? 
  • What problems will our customers be facing? 
  • What problems will my spouse, my children, and my friends be facing?”

 

Then look for creative ways to solve those problems before they happen. Another good question to ask is: “What is my ideal future ten, fifteen, and even twenty years from now? What are some of the steps I could take to shape that future now?

When you anticipate your future challenges and opportunities, you can redefine your product or service to capitalize on the Hard Trends you see unfolding, enter new markets, and become the leader. Remember that change is going to happen whether you want it to or not. From education to health care, agriculture to energy to manufacturing, it will burst through every industry and every institution, metamorphosing everything and leaving nothing untouched in its wake. It will disrupt catastrophically every aspect of every industry and every aspect of human activity—except for those who see it coming

#3 Transform (use technology-driven change to your advantage)

Changing means continuing to do essentially the same thing, only introducing some variation in degree. Build it a little bigger, smaller, faster, higher, longer. Increase the marketing budget. Add a few staff to the department. Build a snazzier-looking SUV. Come up with a new slogan. But the recorded music industry or television networks can’t survive simply by changing. Embracing change is no longer enough: we need to transform.

Transformation means doing something utterly and radically different. It means putting oil rigs at the bottom of the ocean and reimagining GM on a Dell model. In the early 1990s, Barnes & Noble superstores changed how we shop for books. By the mid-1990s, Amazon was transforming how we shop for books, which then transformed how we shop for everything. 

Therefore, ask yourself, “Using Hard Trends, how can I expect my own field or business to transform in the next few years?” And equally important: “How can I give my current and future customers the ability to do what they can’t do but would want to—if they knew it was possible?” Your answers to these questions will help you start crafting strategies to transform how you sell, market, communicate, collaborate, and innovate.

#4 Take Your Biggest Problem and Skip It (it’s not the real problem anyway)

What is the biggest problem you’re facing right now? Whatever it is, you have to take that problem…and skip it. Why? Because, that problem you just identified? It’s not your problem. In fact, the key to unraveling your organizations’ most intractable problems often lies in recognizing that the problem confronting you is not the real problem. The real problem lies hidden behind the distraction of what you think the problem is. 

This is what happened with Eli Lilly. To solve the big molecular puzzles they needed to solve, create new pharmaceuticals, and breathe life into their falling stock prices, they needed to hire at least another one thousand new PhD employees—and they frankly did not have the money. Lilly’s problem was, to put it bluntly, no money. Or was it? By skipping the problem, they realized that their real challenge was solving molecular problems. So they created an online scientific forum called InnoCentive, Inc., where they posted difficult chemical and molecular problems and offered to pay anyone who could solve them. By making the site open to any scientist with an internet connection and posting the problems in over a dozen languages, the company created a global, virtual R&D talent pool that soon found solutions to problems that had stumped its own researchers. As a result, they created new drugs, and Lilly survived—and thrived.

So, what about that biggest problem of yours? Like Eli Lilly, if you hold the problem up and look at it from different angles, you may well find that it is not your true problem—and that rather than trying to solve it, you may fare far better by skipping it entirely. 

#5 Go Opposite (look where no one else is looking to see what no one else is seeing and do what no one else is doing)

Often, when searching for the real problem you want to address, it’s not always easy to know where to look. One way to help tease that insight to the surface is to note where everyone else is looking—and then look in the opposite direction. Jeff Bezos looked at how Barnes & Noble had taken the traditional bookstore to a new level of size and substance, creating the modern superstore, and went the other way: he shrank the size to nothing and made it completely insubstantial

Likewise, Dell looked at the PC industry’s reliance on retailers and did something else: direct marketing. Meanwhile, JetBlue looked at the hub-and-spoke system used by legacy carriers and decided to do the opposite. Launching their low-cost airline based on a point-to-point system, they profited while others suffered and went into bankruptcy. Many other companies, from Netflix to Starbucks to Volkswagen, did the opposite of what their competitors were doing…and they transformed their entire industry.

Therefore, one powerful way to be anticipatory is to take note of where everyone else is looking, and then look in the opposite direction. So ask yourself, “What is the current way of thinking regarding any subject in my industry?” Then think the opposite to see new opportunities.

#6 Redefine and Reinvent (identify and leverage your uniqueness in new and powerful ways)

In the twenty-first century, the one and only thing you can depend on is transformation. This means you can’t go backward, and you can’t stand still; you can’t rest on your laurels, and you can’t keep doing what you’ve always done, even if you do your best to keep doing it better. The only way to survive, let alone thrive, is to continuously reinvent and redefine. Reinvent and redefine what? Everything.

Lee Iacocca and Hal Sperlich reinvented an entire marketplace when they redefined the family station wagon. Baby boomers needed a set of wheels with substantial family room, but, Dodge realized, they did not want to look and act just like their parents. So in November 1983, Chrysler introduced the Dodge Caravan, creating an entire automotive category—the minivan—that they would continue to dominate for the next quarter century. They used the power of anticipation, based on the Hard Trend of baby boomers and their needs (along with the eternal insight that people don’t want to look or act like their parents). 

But while companies like Chrysler redefined and reinvented, companies like Maytag and Toshiba did not…and they paid the price for their complacency. 

Reinventing oneself has always been a powerful strategy, but in the past, corporate and product reinvention was an option; today it is an imperative. In the past, stability and change were two contrasting states: when you achieved stability, you did so despite change. Today change itself has become an integral part of stability: today you can achieve stability only by embracing change as a continuous and permanent state.

Therefore, forget competing; instead, leapfrog the competition by redefining anything and everything about your business. Additionally, decommoditize continuously—look for creative ways to make the mundane exceptional and transform the normal into the extraordinary. 

#7 Direct Your Future (or someone else will direct it for you)

Your vision of the future is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Change your view of the future, and you direct your future. Becoming anticipatory starts with seeing the certainty of Hard Trends and based on that, learning how to anticipate accurately. It also lets you see Soft Trends as factors you can influence to shape a better future. But it’s not enough to see Hard Trends and Soft Trendsanticipatetransformgo oppositeskip your biggest problems, and reinvent yourself. These are all valuable and vital steps, but there is something larger and more embracing: you need to actively shape your own future. 

Directing your future is the conscious exercise of your creative capacity to envision and rewrite your future life and career that wraps all the other Anticipatory Organization principles together. The fact is that you become what you dream. So if you want to know what you are becoming, you need to ask, “What am I dreaming?”

This is the skill at the heart of my Anticipatory Organization® Model: the ability to project yourself into the future and then look back at your present position from the future’s point of view—what I call your Futureview®. This Futureview® is not the same thing as a goal, plan, ambition, or aspiration. Futureview® is not what you hope for or are trying to create—it is the picture you actually hold, for better or for worse, of what you expect and believe about your future. 

Becoming aware of your own Futureview® puts a tremendously powerful strategic tool in your hands. It gives you the control of your own future. Your Futureview® determines which actions you’ll take and which you’ll avoid taking. Different Futureviews® create different realities. What does your Futureview® say about you?

Chart Your Course

Accurate flashes of insight about the future is the key to successful innovation. And if you want others in your organization and industry to view you as an innovator, then you need to take a strategic position and help shape the organization’s future. By committing to these seven principles, you’ll keep your company and yourself ahead of the curve so you can navigate a solution before the rest of the world even sees a problem coming.

Posted On Tuesday, 24 January 2023 00:00 Written by

As I approach forty years connected to the mortgage and real estate industry, I have given a great deal of thought about what the last phase of my career will look like. I have really thought deeply about what I know, and the things I have learned, and have concluded that my favorite part of all I have been a part of has been helping others find their path in this industry. So, my future will be committed to what I will call “The Mentoring Mindset”.

I will continue to write and record content but will limit my individual originator coaching clients and spend more time with teams, managers, branches, and working with companies to help them develop the “Mentoring Mindset” so the next generation of coaches, trainers, managers, and leaders will be in place to help future producers, top producers and others do a better job building and nurturing relationships with referral partners and their clients by providing an exceptional client experience and ongoing value. 

The last six months have been very challenging for the industry. Some have been prepared while others somehow seem surprised that mortgage rates didn’t go to zero and stay there. I believe in addition to large layoffs that have taken place, there will be a real need for mentoring those that will be the ones who not only survive in 2023 and beyond but thrive! This will require a commitment to building out a “value culture” committed to compete through personal connections and commitment to truly exceptional experiences.

So, if you have ten originators or five thousand; if you have just one branch, or hundreds, if you would like to be part of what I believe the future of mortgage originations will evolve into that doesn’t require spending millions on commercials and sign-on bonuses, maybe we should talk? I will share more of this vision in the weeks to come. Remember, you can’t keep cutting your way to prosperity; at some point, someone must generate and convert opportunities!

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

Posted On Monday, 23 January 2023 00:00 Written by

Existing-home sales retreated for the eleventh consecutive month in December, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Three of the four major U.S. regions recorded month-over-month drops, while sales in the West were unchanged. All regions experienced year-over-year declines.

Total existing-home sales,[i] https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales – completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – decreased 1.5% from November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.02 million in December. Year-over-year, sales sagged 34.0% (down from 6.09 million in December 2021).

“December was another difficult month for buyers, who continue to face limited inventory and high mortgage rates,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “However, expect sales to pick up again soon since mortgage rates have markedly declined after peaking late last year.”

Total housing inventory[ii] registered at the end of December was 970,000 units, which was down 13.4% from November but up 10.2% from one year ago (880,000). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.9-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.3 months in November but up from 1.7 months in December 2021.

The median existing-home price[iii] for all housing types in December was $366,900, an increase of 2.3% from December 2021 ($358,800), as prices rose in all regions. This marks 130 consecutive months of year-over-year increases, the longest-running streak on record.

“Home prices nationwide are still positive, though mildly,” Yun added. “Markets in roughly half of the country are likely to offer potential buyers discounted prices compared to last year.”

Properties typically remained on the market for 26 days in December, up from 24 days in November and 19 days in December 2021. Fifty-seven percent of homes sold in December 2022 were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers were responsible for 31% of sales in December, up from 28% in November and 30% in December 2021. NAR’s 2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in November 2022[iv] – found that the annual share of first-time buyers was 26%, the lowest since NAR began tracking the data.

All-cash sales accounted for 28% of transactions in December, up from 26% in November and 23% in December 2021.

“Cash buyers are unaffected by fluctuations in mortgage rates and were able to take advantage of lower prices in some areas,” Yun said.

Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 16% of homes in December, up from 14% in November but down from 17% in December 2021.

Distressed sales[v] – foreclosures and short sales – represented 1% of sales in December, virtually unchanged from last month and one year ago.

According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.15% as of January 19. That’s down from 6.33% last week, but up from 3.56% one year ago.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales declined to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.60 million in December, down 1.1% from 3.64 million in November and 33.5% from the previous year. The median existing single-family home price was $372,700 in December, up 2.0% from December 2021.

Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 420,000 units in December, down 4.5% from November and 38.2% from one year ago. The median existing condo price was $317,200 in December, an annual increase of 3.3%.

“Realtors® helped millions of Americans achieve the dream of homeownership in the midst of a housing market that experienced some tough headwinds last year,” said NAR President Kenny Parcell, a Realtor® from Spanish Fork, Utah, and broker-owner of Equity Real Estate Utah. “In 2023, we’ll continue to work with legislators and real estate leaders at all levels to address inventory shortages and increase access to homeownership.”

Regional Breakdown

Existing-home sales in the Northeast slid 1.9% from November to an annual rate of 520,000 in December, down 28.8% from December 2021. The median price in the Northeast was $391,400, an increase of 1.6% from the prior year.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest fell 1.0% from the previous month to an annual rate of 1.01 million in December, falling 30.3% from one year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $262,000, up 2.9% from December 2021.

In the South, existing-home sales slipped 2.2% in December from November to an annual rate of 1.80 million, a 33.1% decrease from the previous year. The median price in the South was $337,900, an increase of 3.5% from this time last year.

At an annual rate of 690,000, existing-home sales in the West were unchanged from November but down 43.4% from one year ago. The median price in the West was $557,900, an increase of $200, or less than a tenth of a percent from December 2021.

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.5 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. The term Realtor® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.

 

[i] Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR benchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90% of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample – about 40% of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

              The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

              Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

[ii] Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90% of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

[iii] The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

[iv] Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. The annual study only represents primary residence purchases, and does not include investor and vacation home buyers. Results include both new and existing homes.

[v] Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at nar.realtor.

Posted On Friday, 20 January 2023 07:32 Written by

For a business or organization, cost-effective solutions to current and future problems is a primary goal of many internal leaders. Of course, this is not limited to having less scrap as a manufacturing company or offering fewer refunds to dissatisfied customers as a retailer. Much of what cost savings has to do with these days is found in processing power, bandwidth, and storage — the Three Digital Accelerators that I have identified as the cause for accelerated digital disruption since the eighties.

Yes, cost savings by way of using an Anticipatory Mindset to get in front of disruption is certainly a prominent factor as a business or organization. However, the other side of the coin here is in understanding how to effectively implement digital disruption to leverage it in low-cost ways.

I have previously highlighted in recent blogs the fast-moving nature of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in nearly all areas of business. These are Hard Trend future certainties that by no measure are slowing down.

And as my Anticipatory Organization® Learning System teaches many business leaders, C-suite executives, and managers alike: thinking exponentially about any digitally disruptive factors within and outside of your industry and how to implement them specifically at your business or organization is a must.

Being a Positive Disruptor Can Be Costly, But Being Disrupted Is Worse

So, if those implementations are a must, what does that mean for business expenses? After all, the price of hiring a team to create something that automates an ordinarily mundane process at your business or organization comes with many factors.

To answer any preconceived notions about the concept of implementing AI or ML at your business or organization: Yes, new software, hardware, the training on how to utilize it, or even the potential of creating it internally can be costly. Yet you must always imagine the cost of being disrupted as well.

For example, there have been recent discussions around pharmacies in the healthcare industry implementing intelligent software and machines that can more easily refill and distribute medication to customers. A local pharmacist with a small operation may fear how much spending on an autonomous system may cost them up front to implement.

But the long-term cost of resting on their laurels for fear of the cost of change will be more costly, as the pharmacies that do incorporate AI and ML are adapting in proactive, Anticipatory ways to both adjust their business procedures and workforce in a disruptive world.

Accessible Software-as-a-Service

Now, the cost of incorporating this equipment and software may be unattainable for a smaller business, as is likely evident in our example of a local pharmacy trying to keep up with the likes of Walgreens or pharmacies in Target.

But Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and quite frankly, Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) is here to save the day! In short, the concept of software, hardware, and many other offerings in the digital and physical world being offered “as a service” is no different than a homeowner renting a small backhoe from Home Depot to more quickly and efficiently dig a hole on their property.

SaaS, XaaS, and others are subscription-based models that provide easy, affordable access to many of the most common disruptive digital technologies rooted in those Three Digital Accelerators I previously mentioned in this blog. This includes, but is not limited to, cloud-based storage services, AI applications, predictive analysis, deep learning, and others.

Companies such as Amazon Web Services, the IBM Cloud, or the Google Cloud Platform are common examples of organizations that offer Software-as-a-Service and, in many cases, Everything-as-a-Service for many different industries.

For the small, local pharmacy, trying to outpace AI and ML with more workers putting in long hours doing mundane tasks or hoping digital disruption will just go away is a fruitless effort. Additionally, this legacy effort will ultimately cost more and likewise, potentially cost them their business.

Subscribe to Your Future

Subscribing to SaaS or XaaS applications is to subscribe to the future success of your business or organization, no matter your size. It is also an investment in your current and future workforce, as change is the only constant in our world.

Future employees, managers, and more will be more and more well versed in what the current and past workforce may see as a digital disruption or an insurmountable issue. By embracing these services that save you time and money, and ultimately save on needing to be agile as a way to keep your head above water, you are demonstrating a united Futureview to current and future team members.

Likewise, your preparation to work with them in autonomous software and hardware demonstrates to them that their skills as human beings are still extremely valuable, helping them evolve with your efforts and with the times. In a way, this also prepares them for a future in the industry itself, making you a force of change as an organization.

Taking Anticipatory action by implementing SaaS and XaaS for the necessity of evolving your business or organization starts with Hard Trend future certainties. Look inside and outside of your industry at what is transforming in the realm of my Three Digital Accelerators, consider how they might impact your business operation specifically, and research if those transformations are offered as a service to be easily incorporated.

Posted On Monday, 16 January 2023 20:14 Written by

Really solid news from my clients reporting from the field that new contracts, pre-approvals, and contacts for information are significantly higher than the last few weeks of 2022. As expected, the new year brought both buyers and sellers back into the market and many are interested in making something happen NOW! While not huge amount of urgency, interest in making it happen, or the commitment to the process appears to be strong. That is always a good sign, and certainly welcome now. Will sellers continue the annual tradition of listing in January? We will have to see, but it appears that there is solid interest by homeowners to trade up, trade down, or relocate. Couple that with a strong first-time home buyer interest and you have the makings of solid activity. 

Thanks to those who reached out to me about the call I did with Dave Savage on December 30th. That conversation with four generations of originators, me being the old guy, was fun to do and I hope we will revisit many of the topics that wee brought up in that conversation. Each one of the deserves a deeper dive and I look forward to taking it to that next level. I will share the link to that Facebook live chat of Mortgage Coach below.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/INSANEPRODUCTIVITYwithMortgageCoach/permalink/6677540325596239/

If you aren’t following this group, you might want to consider doing so. Information and conversation are always a good thing.

Currently reading a book called “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. Lots a good takeaway and might be something to look into. If you are reading something that is really helpful to you and your business, please feel free to share in the comments or send me an email.

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

Posted On Monday, 16 January 2023 00:00 Written by
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