Why we’re more than just agents

For many people, buying a home will be the single biggest purchase they ever make. Obviously, that can cause them more than a little anxiety. As agents, our job is to reduce that anxiety, and we can do that by giving them all the tools, information, and support to help them through the entire process.

This is why we’ve always said real estate agents are more than property sellers. We are wealth advisors, information specialists, trendspotters, and above all, friends. We don’t want our clients to feel like they have to make such an important decision alone!

Remember, this business isn’t just about closing deals, it’s also about building trust. If your clients trust you and know you’ll give them the best advice possible regardless of your outcome, that’s how you build a long, successful career.

Enjoy today’s Blueprint, and let’s get after it!

– James and David

Mortgage refinance demand surges

Source: Unsplash

Mortgage refinance demand jumped 18% last week. Meanwhile, interest rates dropped to 6.18%, the lowest level since September 2022.

Here are some other key data points:

  • This was the fifth straight week that interest rates dropped.

  • The refinance share of mortgage activity grew to 33.9% of total applications, up from 31.2% last week.

  • Total refinance applications are still down 75% from the same week last year.

Our take

This backs up exactly what we are seeing in our market. There was a lot of activity in January and we are expecting the same for February. We anticipate interest rates to stay in this range, potentially even get a little lower. We’re really urging our agents to contact any sellers that are on the fence and share this information with them, as buyers are looking for great homes!

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3 major MLSs expand nationwide

Source: Unsplash

CRMLS, Bright MLS, and BeachesMLS have partnered to provide nationwide listing data to nearly 50 million consumers in their Florida markets. With many buyers looking to relocate outside their current markets, this data will help streamline the home search process. The companies expect to launch the data share later this year.

Here are the key takeaways about the data-sharing plan:

  • The three MLSs will have access to information on the migration patterns of these consumers.

  • Subscribers from all three MLSs will be able to search for properties in each other's databases.

  • They also will be able to look up and see active and sold listing records for all residential property categories.

Our take

This is great and it makes a ton of sense. The pandemic has shifted what buyers are looking for and now the MLS is giving the agents more data to better serve their clients. Agents can use this to up their game and provide more value.

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Here's where to find homes for <$200k!

Source: realtor.com

Realtor.com compiled a list of metros with the most homes for sale for less than $200k. These affordable cities are concentrated in the regions where the job market and population growth have stagnated, but are now starting to rebound. These areas are appealing to home searchers feeling the affordability crunch in pricier markets.

Here are the 10 markets with the most homes priced <$200k:

  1. Detroit, MI

  2. Pittsburgh, PA

  3. Cleveland, OH

  4. St. Louis, MO

  5. Baltimore, MD

  6. Birmingham, AL

  7. Chicago, IL

  8. Memphis, TN

  9. Indianapolis, IN

  10. Rochester, NY

Our take

Affordability is one of the biggest issues facing home buyers today, so this data is great to see, especially if you work in these markets. We also view this as a great opportunity for a short-term rental if you are looking to invest in real estate.

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The news that just missed the cut

Source: nypost.com

Foundation Plans

Advice from James and David to win the day

As we said earlier, affordability is a top issue for many buyers in today's market. With inflation and prices soaring since the pandemic, 64% of Americans say their budgets are stretched too thin. Our friends at BAM put together some great tips for working with buyers who are living paycheck to paycheck.

Here are three ways agents can support buyers with tight budgets:

  • Address the fear. These potential buyers want to be homeowners, but when their budgets don't stretch as far as they previously did, they can lose hope. As agents, it's our job to address their fears and use our expertise to help them plan for the future.

  • Have a real conversation. At the end of the day, a house is just shelter, so it's important that buyers make the best decision for them. Maybe moving 10 miles outside their dream location will enable them to buy within their budget. Have an honest conversation about their goals for homeownership.

  • Gain trust by helping the buyer. Make an honest recommendation based on your buyer's finances and living situation. Are they planning to stay in the area for 7+ years? If so, buying a property with an affordable mortgage might be cheaper than renting. Are they planning to leave the area in a couple years? If that’s the case, finding an affordable rental might be best.

Want to learn more about working with buyers on a budget? Click to read the article.

Just in Case

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

Source: Rocket Mortgage

That’s all for this edition of The Blueprint!

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Have a great weekend and we’ll see you Tuesday.

– James and David