James here. I hope you’re feeling refreshed and energized today, because I am most certainly NOT! I convinced my wife that our family needed a puppy (…well, my daughters convinced me, and I convinced my wife). Boy, has that backfired! My wife told me that since she raised our girls while I was working, I have to raise this dog. So, last night at 1am, 4am and 6am, I was taking her for walks and cleaning up her poop. 

Why am I telling you this? Well, I’ve had my fair share of needy clients. You know the ones… call all hours of the night… bark at you over anything that goes wrong… whine and whine and whine. I have come to learn that those clients were actually EASIER to deal with than a new puppy. 

So, keep that in mind next time you get your nuisance client. At least they don’t poop inside your house.

– James 

Today's Blueprint:

  • Watch out for this upcoming fee hike

  • Housing stats that are absolutely bonkers

  • The hottest housing market in America is…

  • What to look for in your next brokerage

These fees are no April Fool’s Day joke

Source: National Mortgage News

Starting on April 1st, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be implementing a new set of lender fees. They'll be charged only on loans for second homes and loans over the baseline conforming loan limit of $647,200 (a.k.a. jumbo loans). For first-time buyers, Fannie and Freddie will drop the guarantee fees on high-balance loans if they make less than the local average income. 

To dodge the rising fees, many buyers will end up working with a private lender that isn’t backed by Fannie and Freddie funding. And that’s really what the mortgage giants are after. Fewer jumbo loans free up more capital to lend out. This will especially help low-income first-time buyers get the credit they need in this high-priced market. 

Our take

Your buyer should talk to at least two or three lenders before they lock in the terms. Tell them to let each lender know they’re shopping around. That’s how your buyer will get the absolute best rate possible. These banks are keen to close as many loans as they can right now, before rates really rise. Always pit them against one another to see who can be the most competitive. 

And the record for most records set goes to….

Source: CNBC

We told you 2021 was the most ridiculously bonkers year for real estate EVER, and now we've got more numbers to back it up. Here are the biggest shockers from CNN’s latest market report:  

  • The average home sold for $346,900 last year. That’s a gain of 16.9% YoY. 

  • An estimated 6.12M homes changed hands, the most since ’06. And who knows how many more were sold as off-market listings?! 

  • A typical homeowner gained an average of $50,200 in home wealth as prices skyrocketed last year

  • In December, inventory dropped to just 910,000 properties. That’s the lowest in recorded history. 

  • Home sales dropped 4.6% overall last month. The drop was even more dramatic among more affordable homes in the $100K to $250K range. 

But don’t expect the record-smashing to slow anytime soon. January is already shaping up to be the most competitive month in all of housing history

Our take

Now’s your chance to keep this incredible momentum going! Ride the wave, stay focused, and keep piggybacking on these unbelievably low rates and supply. You should be communicating the urgency of this moment because, truly, this market is not going to last forever. Don’t worry about or try to predict what will happen next. Just stay focused on building your business now! 

These hot markets cut through December’s chill

Source: Business Insider

Every month, Realtor.com publishes a top 20 hottest markets report by tracking which cities get the most online traffic and which markets see the fastest sales. Many of the areas that made December’s list have one interesting factor in common: they’re just a short drive away from a super-pricey popular market. 

The top 10 hottest markets in December: 

  1. Manchester, NH

  2. Burlington, NC

  3. Rochester, NY

  4. Fort Wayne, IN

  5. Oxnard, CA

  6. Vallejo, CA

  7. Santa Maria, CA

  8. Raleigh, NC

  9. La Crosse, WI

  10. North Port, FL

Our take

Major cities like LA, Miami, and NYC are always going to thrive. The secondary markets surrounding these cities will keep growing too. There’s great value to be had in these growing suburban communities. They’re smaller markets, but they still have great schools and quick access to amenities and big city perks. Keep an eye out, a lot more will be coming in 2022.


The news that just missed the cut

Source: Realtor.com

Foundation Plans

Advice from James and David to win the day

Don’t think too hard. Stick to the basics. We believe every healthy real estate career starts and ends with these simple tips:

  • It’s all about relationships. Every time you go somewhere you have the opportunity to build your network. So dress the part, always be prepared to talk industry trends, know your stuff! 

  • Be true to yourself. Don't pretend to be someone you're not! Be your true self and you'll naturally attract others who are like you.

  • Be honest and ethical. Clients have to know they can trust you. It’s not easy and it’s not quick. But once you build trust, you’ve got a lifelong client. Show up when you say you will, always follow through on your word, and keep ethics front and center. 

  • Realize that marketing isn’t one-size-fits-all. What works for us or the agent down the street isn’t exactly a science. You have the freedom to try out different strategies until you develop one that fits your unique business. Once you find what works, be consistent.

  • We’ll say it again… be consistent! If you do try a new promotion strategy, give it a fair shot before you abandon ship. It can take a few months to start seeing results from new strategies like postcards, social media videos, networking at events, or paid advertising. 

Want more tips like this? Here's an audio version of the webinar we did last week where we covered some of these topics.

Just in Case

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

Wondering what to say when you door-knock? Wish you knew how to market your fixer-upper listing? Just ask us! Questions go here and answers go up there every Friday ☝️

You’re already off to a strong start this week by reading the latest Blueprint. Keep up this great momentum and let’s close some deals! 

– James and David