Why should I care about Branding?

Branding is the perception people have about you or your company.

I’ve heard it said that branding “is what people say about you when you are out of the room”.

Branding has 3 main objectives:

  1. Build Customer awareness-If they don’t know who you are they won’t know why they should do business with you. What sets you apart from anyone else in your business?
  2. Make it easy for people to find you and get to know you. Have a website, Use Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram etc. Be comfortable being you in Social Media, after all consumers want to work with professionals who they trust and like, be likeable!
  3. Add Value- More that just articulating what sets you apart, live that difference. Educate, take special care of your clients, stay on top of your industry so that you can share insights and information with confidence.

Good branding is about getting your prospects to see you as the provider of a solution to the problem.

A strong brand is invaluable as the market gets more and more competitive. Branding is strategic, and marketing is tactical… If you lead with branding it makes the sales process much easier.


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Buy When The Time Is Right For You

Prior to the real estate meltdown that brought on the ‘great recession’ a decade ago, real estate values were soaring, and buyers would do anything to get in on the action. Wall Street firmly believed that real estate values would never decline as they continued to create riskier products to stimulate sales, until the whole system collapsed.

I am not predicting future real estate doom. However, in many parts of the country real estate prices have been rising aggressively for several years. Interest rates are up and going higher and wages are not keeping up with housing costs. Will we see another great decline in housing values? Will prices continue to rise? What really is a good time to buy, or for that matter sell and how do you know?

We can never really know what might impact the real estate market and housing values. Just after 9/11, a sizzling real estate market was immediately chilled and stayed cold for many months. Certainly, buyers and sellers could not have predicted that in anyway, or the impact that event would have on the market.

If you want to buy because the time is right for you and your life, do it! Remember that a house or condo is not like a pair of shoes from Nordstrom’s, you cannot return a house at any time for any reason. Yes, in today’s market you could probably purchase in April and make money selling again in May, if the house didn’t fit well or was the wrong color. I would suggest that is now is the time for you to buy. Having said that, you need to be sure that you will be staying in the property for a good amount of time, like 5 – 10 years. You don’t want to make a purchase and decide that you are going back to school on the West coast in a year, or you are changing jobs which requires a relocation, getting married and need more space, moving for any reason.

At today’s prices, in today’s aggressive seller’s market, look for a home that will be your home for life or close to it, so you don’t have to fear a market decline impacting your plans or your life.

The best time to buy is when buying is best for you.

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Customize your own mortgage terms

The cat is out the bag…you can customize your loan terms and potentially get a much lower rate.

Odd term mortgages, almost unheard of years ago, are becoming more and more prevalent in today’s marketplace. The simple idea is that you can customize the loan term to match a financial goal or a major life event. In the past, these loans were only available through small banks or credit unions, but now most lenders can provide this option.

There is nothing unusual about this loan except the terms. The terms can range from 8 years to 29 years. They can be used for a new home purchase, cash-in or cash-out refinance with one of the most popular ways being a refinance.

There are several reasons why you would want to be in control of setting your own terms.

• You want to refinance but not extend the term of your loan. This loan is for you if you don’t want to re-set your loan terms back to 30 years when doing a traditional refinance. Example: You purchased your home three years ago and rates are lower, but the notion of “re-setting” your loan back to 30 years seems wasteful given all that you’ve paid the last three years. A 27-year loan is the perfect solution, so your payments are not in vain.

• You want to lower your interest rate and build equity faster. This loan is for you if you pay a little extra toward your mortgage every month as an attempt to pay it off sooner, but you would like to refinance to a lower rate. These loans tend to have lower interest rates.

• You want to customize your loan to your budget. This loan is for you if you want to customize a loan around what you can afford to pay by controlling the terms and possibly lowering the interest rate. This product can potentially shave years off the term of the loan and save you thousands of dollars in interest payments.

• You want to free up money to use for a major upcoming life event. This loan is for you if you have a major life event that you want to plan for such as retiring soon or sending a child to college. You can free up some money by paying off your loan early and eliminating the monthly mortgage payment at a time when you will need that money the most.

If you are an extremely disciplined person, you can accomplish strict payoff goals without the odd term loan by calculating the extra amount you would have to make to the principle each month and tailoring your payments to meet that date. If, however, you don’t have the financial discipline to make the extra payments consistently, you might want to consider a customized mortgage. The only downside is if your mortgage is paid off early, you lose the mortgage interest deduction on your taxes.

The odd term loan should be considered a financial tool for building equity quicker and shortening the term of your loan.

Smaller lenders and specialty lenders can run different amortization tables, so you can compare the payment and other details to see if this option is right for you.

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