Grabbing the lead

While we aren’t exactly experts in football (…ahem, American football), we do know two things: 1) it’s Super Bowl week and 2) the best football teams know how to get leads and keep them (…apologies Detroit Lions fans).

Well, that’s what the best real estate agents do too. They know how to build leads and score big deals.

In today’s Foundation Plans, we discuss the concept of being a lead magnet. We believe that every agent should strive to become a lead magnet, and we offer some tips on how to do it.

And that now “leads” us into today’s Blueprint…

– James and David

Mortgage rates jump back over 7%

The average rate on the popular 30-year fixed mortgage crossed over 7% on Monday for the first time since December, hitting 7.04%, according to CNBC’s latest mortgage rate update. Here are other important points to note:

  • Buyers returned to the market as mortgage rates fell over the past two months

  • Mortgage applications to purchase a home had been rising steadily, but fell back in the last few weeks, as mortgage rates edged higher.

  • Just a half-percentage point swing can cost or save a buyer more than $200 a month on the median-priced home.

  • The median price of an existing home sold in December was $382,600, according to the NAR, up 4.4% from December 2022.

Our take

We wanted to lead with this story because, lately, we’ve given you a lot of good news. We wanted to make sure we threw in a dose of not-so-great news to keep an even balance. A 7% mortgage rate isn’t good. What’s key, though, are the upcoming inflation numbers. If they’re low, then mortgage rates will fall even if the unemployment rate holds steady or dips. We are going to be watching employment and inflation stats for this quarter very closely. If they’re good, and the Fed starts cutting rates, expect the mortgage rate to go down.

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How the U.S. population is shifting

Source: Bloomberg

The share of the US population living in the West declined to 23.6%, down from its peak of 23.8% in 2019. That’s according to Bank of America’s analysis of data from the US Census Bureau. The majority of the population now lives in the South (38.0%), followed by the West (23.6%), Midwest (20.6%), and the Northeast (17.0%). 

Here are the metros that saw the highest year-over-year population increases and declines in 2023.

Highest Population Increase (%)

  1. Columbus, OH — 1.1%

  2. Austin, TX — 0.9%

  3. San Antonio, TX — 0.5%

  4. Las Vegas, NV — 0.4%

  5. Jacksonville, FL — 0.4%

Highest Population Decrease (%)

  1. San Francisco, CA — -1.0%

  2. Los Angeles, CA — -0.7%

  3. New York, NY — -0.7%

  4. Miami, FL — -0.7%

  5. Boston, MA — -0.6%

Our take

This is a good report from Bank of America. It tells a story that all of us heard all last year. High housing costs forced people to move out of major Western cities and head south. We hope reports like this convince state and local governments to change their zoning laws to allow for more housing. But there is a tidbit in this report that should give some hope to West Coast markets. A large share of the migration between metro areas in the US are single-person households. Such households typically have great flexibility to move around. If West Coast metros get their act together, there’s a real chance that they can lure people back.

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Equity-rich homes dipped slightly in Q4

46.1 percent of mortgaged residential properties in the United States were equity-rich in Q4, according to ATTOM. That means the combined amount of loan balances secured by those properties was no more than half of their estimated market values. Although this is a very strong number, it’s a slight dip from the 47.1% of equity-rich homes in Q3. 

Here are the states that have the highest or lowest percentage of equity-rich homes.

Highest Percentage

  1. Vermont — 82.8%

  2. Maine — 60%

  3. California — 58.2%

  4. New Hampshire —58%

  5. Idaho —57%

Lowest Percentage

  1. Louisiana — 19.7%

  2. Illinois — 28%

  3. Alaska — 29.2%

  4. Oklahoma — 30%

  5. Maryland — 30.2%

Our take

We encourage everyone to really take a look at this study because it goes into granular detail. It goes zip code by zip code to tell you which percentage of homes are equity-rich in each area. That’s huge. Agents can use that to micro-target listing emails. While we might see more uneven equity trends as the housing market heads into its annual peak Spring and Summer buying season, we don’t believe this slight dip in equity foreshadows any large-scale negative pattern in the current housing market

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The news that just missed the cut

Foundation Plans

Advice from James and David to win the day

Today we’d like to discuss the importance of being a lead magnet. Basically, this means securing leads by providing value or information to others. You’re not only aiming to secure their contact information, you are aiming to win their trust. Here are some tips on how to do it.   

Become the go-to expert in your market –  Any marketer will tell you that video content is king, and we think it's one of the best ways to position yourself as a local real estate expert. Try showcasing local businesses on your social media and website. Ask the owners to share your posts on their platforms to get extra eyes on your content. There are so many platforms now to reach a sizable audience. Just pick one and showcase your stuff!

Provide a trusted vendors list – This is such a valuable tool. Your clients and leads will love you for it. Basically, create a list of your preferred vendors – e.g., painters, handymen, contractors, plumbers, etc., –  to share with people in exchange for their contact information. You can use a platform like Mosaik or just use a Google doc. If you can save them time and money by directing them to trusted local professionals, you will automatically stand out.

Get involved in your community – Think of a creative way to connect your passions to the local community. Passionate about art? Try assembling artists for an art show. Love animals? Host a fundraiser for the local shelter. This gets your name out there and benefits your community.

Create a neighborhood guide – Level up your next open house by showing potential buyers all the benefits of buying in that neighborhood. Create an amenities guide. Include things like shops, restaurants, schools, and other neighborhood amenities, and be sure to include images to bring the neighborhood to life! 

We hope you’re getting a flavor of what we mean by being a lead magnet. To learn more, start here.

The 1% Blueprint

An on-demand course created by James & David

Discover our strategies and techniques to attract a stream of high-quality leads, propelling your real estate business to new heights of success.

For Blueprint subscribers, the course is 30% for a limited time. If you’d like to take our course to learn how to become the top 1% of your market click here!

Just in Case

Keep the latest industry data in your back pocket with today’s mortgage rates:

Source: Mortgage News Daily

“You’ve got to keep control of your time, and you can’t unless you say no. You can’t let people set your agenda in life.” — Warren Buffett

Thanks for reading. Drop us a line. We love hearing from you, and we’ll see you back here on Friday!

– James and David