9/11 ~ A Rememberance

One date in recent history permanently seared its mark onto America’s conscience: September 11, 2001. This defining moment exposed the best and the worst things about us. It forced us to look in the mirror as a nation and ask ourselves what really matters.

The terrorists who slammed airplanes into the World Trade Center caught us completely off guard. In the middle of a business-as-usual morning, they showed us how naive we were about the magnitude of their hate and the extent to which we could be humbled by their violence.

Many successful people found themselves trapped in the clutches of this ghastly event. At 9:03 that Tuesday morning, their SAT scores and the cars they drove to work meant nothing. There was very little that their pedigrees and résumés could do for them. The famous as well as the obscure became equals in the statistics. In the Twin Towers, “Who’s Who” died side by side with “Who’s he?”

But in the midst of this crisis, there were magnificent people who responded to the urgency of the moment and gave everything they had for the sake of others. As the successful rushed down the stairs of the World Trade Center, the truly great ran up. As the well-heeled and comfortable ran for their lives, the truly great slipped inside the nightmare to see what they could do to help those who were left behind.

And after the smoke cleared, thousands of truly great people stepped out from their quiet positions within the ranks of successful Americans and opened their hearts and their wallets to those whose lives had been shattered by this cataclysmic event.

Isn’t it ironic that as a nation we worship those who are successful, but when tragedy strikes, our survival depends upon those who are great? A cry for help is always answered first by people who live for something more valuable than their own fame or fortune. They respond even though there isn’t a thing in it for them.

That’s why, when it’s time to bury our dead, we mourn the loss of those who were successful, but we celebrate the memory of those who were truly great—the firefighters, the EMTs, the rescue workers, and the countless civilians who sacrificed everything they had for people they’d never met.

Truly great people seldom simply happen; they are carefully groomed for the moment long before they are forced to face it. Long before they get to these challenges, so many of them have lived within the proving grounds of a family that inspired them to true greatness.

~Excerpt from Raising Truly Great Kids, by Dr. Tim Kimmel

Inside Lending for the Week of August 19, 2013

QUOTE OF THE WEEK… “The barriers are not erected which can say to aspiring talents and industry, ‘Thus far and no farther.’” –Ludwig van Beethoven, German composer

INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE… There seem to be no barriers in sight to the housing market recovery. Friday saw Housing Starts up 5.9% in July, hitting an 896,000 unit annual rate. Those looking for signs of impeded progress were quick to point out that all the gain was due to multi-family starts, which rebounded after their steep drop in June, while single-family starts slipped 2.2% for the month. But the underlying home building trends remain upward. Single-family starts are up 15.4% over a year ago and the total number of homes under construction is up 30% versus a year ago.

Experts say the upward trend in home building should continue for at least a couple of years. They believe population growth and tear downs will require starts to ultimately rise to about 1.5 million units per year, most likely by 2015. This level of building puts the number of homes increasing at the same rate as the population. Building Permits headed up 2.7% in July, with permits for single-unit homes up 17.9% over a year ago. The National Association of Home Builders reported their Builders Confidence Index at its highest level since November 2005. 

BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK… Grow your email list by offering on your website a free article, podcast, or other short piece that speaks to a question, pain, or concern of your audience. Visitors get the download by entering their names and emails.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART THE MORTGAGE BUSINESS?   A loan process that delivers the best mortgage experience.  Most of our clients and referral partners choose us because they want the assurance that there is a loan to back our pre-qualification, they appreciate our regular Loan Status Update reports, and because there is always someone available to help.  Call us today and find out what how great the lending process can be.  It’s not rocket science .. in fact these are the details of our business and the only reason you would hire us.

Inside Lending for the week of August 12, 2013

QUOTE OF THE WEEK… “The best way out is always through.” –Robert Frost, American poet

INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE… We’re definitely working our way through the housing recovery, with the latest data showing strong year-over-year gains in prices and sales. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported the national median existing home price increasing at an annual rate of 12.2% in Q2, from $181,300 to $203,500. That’s the biggest yearly price boost since Q4 of 2005. Sales didn’t do too badly either, up 12.3% annually in Q2 versus a year ago. The 5.06 million annual rate for the quarter was the highest reached since Q2 of 2007.

A leading provider of real estate data and analytics recorded home prices up 1.9% in June, gaining for the 16th month in a row. For the year, they had home prices increasing 11.9%, trending at the fastest upward pace since 1977. Finally, it was reported that Fannie Mae posted a $10.1 billion profit in Q2, almost double the Q2 profit of a year ago. They will now pay a $10.2 billion dividend to the Treasury, which owns $117.1 billion of the company’s senior preferred stock. This is quite a turnaround for Fannie Mae from the dark days of 2008.

BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK… The digital world has created some bad communication habits. Shooting emails back and forth can hurt productivity and distract you from doing tasks that really matter. If an email chain goes beyond two replies, pick up the phone.

A large percentage of our business is currently seller-directed – builder or listing agents offering a seller credit for using the AMT Group at PrimeLending – and rescue loans that another lender couldn’t close. We operate under a simple premise that doing the heavy lifting upfront will eliminate surprises later on. Call or email to find out what our partner’s already know about us. We’d love to help you and your buyers with our highly-communicative, surprise-free mortgage process.

The AMT Group :: A Refined Mortgage Experience :: Precision :: Neatness :: Simplicity

Inside Lending for the week of August 5, 2013

QUOTE OF THE WEEK… “Discontent is the first necessity of progress” –Thomas Edison, American inventor

INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE… Many people were not very content with last week’s Pending Home Sales report. This measure of contracts signed to buy existing homes fell 0.4% in June. For some observers, that raised concerns about future Existing Home Sales. However, the prior month’s report measured Pending Home Sales up 5.8%, so one could reasonably expect a rebound in existing home closings come July. We’ll see.

There was absolutely no discontent expressed around the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index. This revealed home prices in 20 major U.S. metros were up 1% in May and up a very impressive 12.2% versus a year ago. By this index’s measure, home prices are still down from their peak in 2006. But the peak-to-trough decline is now about a third smaller than it was as recently as March 2012. This is a national average. Home prices in two of Case-Shiller’s 20 cities have actually hit all-time highs, going past peaks set in 2007 and 2006!

BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK… Productivity experts suggest following a simple daily routine to stay on track. Take 5 minutes at the start to set the day’s goals. Then check how you’re doing every hour. Spend a few minutes at the end of the day to evaluate your results.

Now that the refinance market has dried up, Mortgage Originators everywhere are clamouring to develop a strong purchase money business.  We have always kept our focus on purchases.  We love purchases because we are wired to provide a phenominal mortgage experience.  Refinance clients can’t appreciate that.  Find out what our referral partners already know.  Give us a call, we’d love to learn more about you and your business.

Inside Lending for the week of July 29, 2013

QUOTE OF THE WEEK… “If you don’t understand the details of your business, you are going to fail.” –Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com

INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE… It was certainly important to understand the details of last week’s Existing Home Sales report. The headline numbers showed June Existing Home Sales were down a disappointing 1.2%, to a 5.08 million annual rate. But other details were encouraging. Existing Home Sales are up 15.2% over a year ago. The median price of an existing home rose and is now up 13.5% from a year ago. Sales are near their highest levels since November 2009, when they were spiked by the big home buyer tax credit. Existing home sales remain above the 5 million a year threshold, a very decent place to be.

No need to dig into the details of New Home Sales to see success. New single-family home sales shot up 8.3% in June, to a 497,000 annual rate, their highest level since May 2008. These sales are now up a humongous 38.1% versus a year ago. The median price of a new home also gained for the month and is now up 7.4% from a year ago. For those worried about how the recent uptick in mortgage rates would affect sales, this first look at purchase contracts signed in June shows no impact. The FHFA index of prices for homes financed with conforming mortgages was up 0.7% in May, up 7.3% over a year ago.

BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK… Learn all you can about the people you want as clients. Check into their social networks and blogs. Then when you get together, you can offer them something meaningful and create immediate rapport.

Thank you, Jeff, for the reminder!!  We understand the details of our business - a loan process that delivers the best mortgage experience.  Most of our clients and referral partners choose us because they want the assurance that there is a loan to back our pre-qualification, they appreciate our regular Loan Status Update reports, and because there is always someone available to help.  Call us today and find out what how great the lending process can be.  It’s not rocket science .. in fact these are the details of our business and the only reason you would hire us.

Inside Lending for the week of July 15, 2013

QUOTE OF THE WEEK… “Difficulties are just things to overcome, after all.” –Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic explorer

INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE… Some see the recent rise in mortgage rates as a difficulty, but the latest Fannie Mae National Housing Survey posits a different point of view. Their chief economist says: “The spike in mortgage rate expectations this month…may increase housing activity in the near term by driving urgency to buy.” He explains: “Consumers may recognize that today’s still favorable mortgage rates and homeownership affordability levels will recede over time…. More prospective homebuyers may be deciding that now is the time to get off the fence.”

The share of survey respondents who believe mortgage rates will increase hit a record high 57%. And the share who believe home prices will go up in the year also came in at a record 57%. So guess what? 72% of respondents believe now is a good time to buy! Rates may ease anyway. The current rise was attributed to the Fed’s announcement it could begin tapering its bond purchases as soon as September. This sent bond prices down and mortgage rates up. But last week, comments from the Fed Chairman, reported below, implied the tapering is off.

BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK… As your last task of the workday, create tomorrow’s to-do list. Then next day, make those tasks your primary focus: if it’s not on the list, don’t do it.

Most of our clients choose The AMT Group because we provide a smooth and surprise-free mortgage experience.  Find out what our referral partners already know and give us a call.

Inside Lending for the week of May 27, 2013

QUOTE OF THE WEEK… “In April the sweet showers fall…” –Geoffrey Chaucer, Prologue to ‘The Canterbury Tales’

INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE… A shower of home purchases sure sweetened the real estate market in April, as Existing Home Sales gained 0.6% for the month, hitting an annual rate of 4.97 million units. This put them up 9.7% over a year ago, reaching their highest sales pace since November 2009, when they were helped along by an $8,000 homebuyer tax credit. No government largesse is needed now to lure buyers, and the median price of an existing home is up 11.0% from a year ago, the supply at 5.2 months.

April was a sweet month for new home purchases too. New home sales were up 2.3%, to a 454,000 annual rate, and are now up a solid 29.0% versus a year ago. The faster sales pace meant that a 5,000-unit increase in inventories did not push out the 4.1 months’ supply. With the number of completed new homes at a record low, buyers are moving quickly. The median new home selling price is up 14.9% over a year ago. In addition, the FHFA index of prices for all homes financed by conforming mortgages was up 1.3% in March and is up 7.2% over a year ago.

BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK… Getting new business is key to every business. Each day, focus as soon as you can on doing one thing to bring in new clients or to create new opportunities with the clients you have.

Inside Lending for the week of April 29, 2013

QUOTE OF THE WEEK… “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” –Newt Gingrich

INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE
… Even though the housing recovery is well underway, there still is evidence that more hard work needs to be done. Last week began with March Existing Home Sales off 0.6%, dropping to an annual rate of 4.92 million units. In addition, the months’ supply of existing homes edged up to 4.7 from 4.6 in February. But even though existing home sales seem to have leveled off in the last few months, they’re actually UP 10.3% versus a year ago. It’s also encouraging to note that the median existing home price, at $184,300, is up 11.8% over last year. 

To further inspire us, March New Home Sales came in Tuesday up 1.5%, to a better than expected 417,000 annual rate. New home sales are now up 18.5% over a year ago, and Q1 of 2013 was the best quarter for new home sales since Q3 of 2008! The months’ supply of new homes remained at 4.4, as the faster sales pace was offset by a rise in inventory of 3,000 units. The median price of new homes sold, at $247,000, is up 3.0% over a year ago. Finally, the FHFA index of prices for homes financed by conforming mortgages was up 0.7% in February and up 7.1% versus a year ago.

BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK… Don’t be afraid to take small risks. Just spend the time to test things out. And trust your gut. Often our gut instincts lead the way to the success we’ve been looking for.

A large percentage of our business is currently seller-directed – builder or listing agents offering a seller credit for using the AMT Group at PrimeLending – and rescue loans that another lender couldn’t close.  We operate under a simple premise that doing the heavy lifting upfront will eliminate surprises later on.  Call or email to find out what our partner’s already know about us.  We’d love to help you and your buyers with our highly-communicative, surprise-free mortgage process. 

The AMT Group :: A Refined Mortgage Experience :: Precision :: Neatness :: Simplicity

Inside Lending for the week of April 22, 2013

QUOTE OF THE WEEK… “We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up,…discovering we have the strength to stare it down.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

Our hearts go out to the Boston bombing victims and their families. Our pride goes out to the heroes who responded with sacrifice and courage. God Bless America.

Market Update 

INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE… Last week Housing Starts were reported UP 7.0% for March to a 1.036 million unit annual rate, 46.7% higher than a year ago and the highest they’ve been since 2008. But wait. The boost was all due to multi-family units, up 31.1% for the month. Single-family starts were down 4.8%, although they actually are UP a very healthy 28.7% from a year ago. Analysts tell us the multi-family sector is super volatile from month to month, but they expect large gains for home building overall for at least two years.

Building Permits in March were down a bit, to a 902,000 annual rate, but almost all the drop was due to multi-families. Single-family permits slipped just 0.5% for the month and are now UP 27.7% versus a year ago. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) confidence index went to 42 from 44 in March. But get this. The NAHB index for future single-family sales rose from 50 to 53, a very positive sign. Economists say it’s OK in a recovery to see up and down indicators along the way, as long as the underlying trend is upward, which it is now in housing.

BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK… Focus. Set goals, make decisions, get organized. Don’t just watch life happen; take control of your destiny. As Yogi Berra said: “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll wind up somewhere else.”

The Arizona housing market is rapidly growing.  There are around 13,000 homes for sale which has made this a seller’s market.  We have a strong pre-qualification process that includes contacting listing agents after our clients submit purchase offers to let them know that 1) we have completed the required work - essentially underwriting the loan before we complete the pre-qualification - to insure there is a loan to stand behind our pre-qualification and that we do not use an Appraisal Management Company but instead have our own internal appraisal desk which uses a list of vetted appraisers.  Finally, we have a float down option available on most of our loans that allows our clients to lock a rate and then improve the rate later if the market improve – with no extra cost to the client!  If you are not receiving these benefits from your lender, contact us.  You should have a fantastic mortgage experience!!