As rates rise, should Real Estate agents worry?

Minneapolis, MN:  Yesterday the Federal Reserve “clarified” to everyone when it will likely end its economic stimulus program.  This ended weeks of speculation that has caused mortgage rates to surge to the highest levels since 2011, and up over 1/2% in physical rate in the past two months.

house_new_constructionBased on the news, it appears mortgage rates have a new bottom, which is about where they are at today. There is plenty of room for rates to move higher.  Express this to your clients, and get the fence sitters moving.

Loan Officers and Real Estate Agents have great fear for future purchase activity.  Is it founded?  “There should be some concern, but overall, I only expect a minor slowdown in purchase activity. People always buy homes, regardless of rate.” said Eric Metzler, a Senior Loan Officer with Mortgages Unlimited in St Paul, MN.

Will home sales fall as rates rise?  Sure… But most people will still buy, just maybe a little less home. As for the future?? If you are a full time experienced agent with a good past client based, I wouldn’t worry about it.

Desperate Loan Officers

Today, a huge number of Loan Officers have been living largely on refinance activity.  This business will drop dramatically as rates creep up.  Many of these Loan Officers have little, if any, purchase business experience.  We would expect to start seeing layoff’s from many of the larger banks, and online refinance powerhouses.  We should also start seeing Loan Officers back again hitting the streets, trying to drum up Realtor referral business.

My world of advice is to pass on refinance specialists trying to turn into purchase loan hopefuls.  While basic loan requirements are similar, purchase loans have a whole new world of requirements for these Loan officers, and you don’t want them experimenting on you and your clients. Stick with licensed, and experience purchase loan specialists like myself.

 


Top two myths about Real Estate Agents

With millions of web sites to look at for home for sale listing, it is becoming more and more common for people to feel they don’t need the help of a licensed Real Estate Agent.

More specifically, people seem to ONLY be calling listing agents for the properties you want to see. The thought behind this I suppose is “I can get a better deal if I don’t involve another agent and contact the listing agent directly.”

While the listing agent loves you only calling them, here is why is is usually a costly mistake for home buyers.

Myth # 1- I will get a better deal if I call the listing agent directly.

That listing agent is contractually bound to do what is in the best interest of the seller, and that means getting the highest dollar amount for the sale of the home. NEVER disclose your top dollar or financial ability to get a bigger mortgage loan to them because by law they have to go back to the seller with this information.

Remember…your goal is to pay as little as possible, while the seller’s agent’s goal is to get as much as possible for the seller. No matter what a Real Estate agent claims, this is a clear conflict of interest.

Myth # 2- I can find more homes for sale by calling more than one agent, or looking at multiple web sites.

The days of each real estate office having big books of only their companies listing are long gone. It is mutually beneficial for all Real Estate Agents to have all properties in the same database (call the MLS – or Multiple Listing Service)

All Real Estate Agents in the same area therefore pull the same list of homes available  for sale from the same multiple listing service database. Local agent sites typically interface with the local MLS site a minimum of once per day. If a new house for sale gets added today, EVERYONE local should have it listed tomorrow.

If you saw a home on Zillow, or some other national site, but that particular home didn’t come up in the local agent’s site, remember sites like Zillow & Trulia are NOT updated as often as the local MLS database real estate agents can pull from are. If it is not on the local MLS…  chances are the house that you saw has already been sold or is already under contract.

More importantly, the opposite is more often true. You find a home on a local real estate web site but NOT on the national sites. This is because some local companies do NOT report to the national systems. In my area (Minneapolis / St Paul, MN), the biggest player in the market (Edina Realty) recently stated they will no longer let their listing be show on the big national sites.  This means if you are looking at home for sale here, but on a national site versus a local site, you a NOT seeing over 20% of this areas listing!

The bottom line is the smart move for home buyers, and especially first time home buyers in MN and WI, is to use the services of a good, licensed local real estate agent in any home purchase transaction, and save yourself a lot of time by only looking at one LOCAL REALTOR web site.