Posted by: SteveMcAuliffe | August 22, 2015

You May Be Ready for TRID, But Are Your Clients?

Source: Inman – Amy Swinderman


  • Are your clients aware of how the TRID regulation affects the closing process?
  • If this is not their first rodeo, you will need to explain the new process and consumer disclosure forms and establish expectations.
  • Encourage your clients to think through mortgage choices, apply for loan estimates through multiple lenders and indicate intent to proceed; you’ll need to find out who’s responsible for the Closing Disclosure and be the source of accurate information.

So you’ve spent the last 23 months preparing to comply with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures rule, or TRID, which takes effect Oct. 3.

Or you’ve spent at least a few months on it, anyway — for your sake, let’s hope so.

TRIDBut what about your clients? Are they aware of how the regulation affects the closing process? If they are purchasing their first home, the changes will be new only to you. But if this is not their first rodeo, you will need to explain the new process and consumer disclosure forms and establish expectations for how the mortgage transaction will proceed.

Here are the CFPB’s five recommendations for what to focus on to facilitate the best experience for your clients:

1. Encourage your clients to think through mortgage choices first.

Engaged homebuyers are more likely to select a mortgage loan that meets their needs and presents few surprises during underwriting, the CFPB says. The preapplication time frame is critical, and gives clients a chance to decide on a loan type and down payment amount before they are focused on a closing date.

Agents should make their clients feel comfortable that they can afford the home and receive a mortgage loan approval. They should encourage prospective homebuyers to review their credit reports early in the process so they can find and correct errors to potentially raise their credit score and reduce their cost of borrowing, the CFPB advises.

2. Once a property has been identified, encourage your clients to apply for Loan Estimates from multiple lenders.

Loan Estimates no longer require written documentation, so agents should encourage clients to compare offers from several lenders to avoid second-guessing whether they got the best deal. Loan Estimates show rates and loan terms in an easy-to-compare format, customized based on clients’ credit and the details of their request. Loan Estimates are most useful when your clients define the requested mortgage type and compare “apples-to-apples” Loan Estimates, according to the CFPB.

3. Make sure your clients indicate their intent to proceed.

Clients may request a Loan Estimate and then feel like they’re done — but Loan Estimates expire after 10 business days. If clients do not complete the steps required by the lender to express their intent to proceed, their applications could be closed as incomplete. If this happens, your clients will likely need to start over with a new application.

Lenders will have different policies about what your clients need to do to successfully move an application forward from the Loan Estimate stage into active processing, when the appraisal and other verifications typically begin. Talk to your lender partners to learn about those policies and discuss lender requirements with your clients to be confident that your clients have an active mortgage application underway, the CFPB advises.

4. Be the source of accurate and timely information about the property and transaction.

Because TRID makes lenders responsible for overseeing compliance from everyone involved in the closing, lenders are now at the center of all transactions. But real estate agents will still play an important part in making sure that clients have all the information they need to experience a smooth closing.

The CFPB advises agents to make sure clients have detailed information they can share with their lender about property taxes, homeowners association (HOA) fees, condominium association fees and the estimated cost for homeowners insurance; communicate any transaction changes to everyone involved and confirm that any revised information has been received; and confirm that the lender and closing agent have the buyer’s and the seller’s broker information so it appears correctly on the Closing Disclosure.

5. Find out who provides the Closing Disclosure.

Who will prepare the Closing Disclosure? Some lenders have already said they will be the only party with access to it. Other lenders may allow title insurance or settlement agents to do it.

When and how your client receives this form will vary from lender to lender and state to state — so communication, early and often, with your partners will be key.

Method of delivery may vary, too. Closing Disclosures may be sent via mail, delivered in person or electronically.

Keep in mind that no matter who prepares or provides the Closing Disclosure, the lender is still accountable for its accuracy and approves the final version, the CFPB says.

For more information and guidance on how to handle mortgage transactions after Oct. 3, visit the CFPB’s resource page.

Source: Inman – Amy Swinderman

Posted by: SteveMcAuliffe | February 25, 2015

Has Loyalty Killed Traditional Marketing?

Have you ever thought about de-emphasizing traditional marketing and focusing on loyalty instead?

A recent Harvard Business Review article theorizes that a focus on loyalty should trump marketing. Marketing Is Dead, and Loyalty Killed It

For most people, the word “marketing” summons up a single-minded focus on selling products
– a one-sided endeavor. But one-sided doesn’t work in a world where social media has given consumers a megaphone just as powerful as that of traditional marketers.

Instead, there is loyalty, which requires communicating brand values that people want to be affiliated with. Consumers today have many options, and more than ever they choose particular brands to communicate something personal about their own beliefs and priorities. The best way to establish and reinforce common values is to create content that’s so highly specific it defines not only the brand, but the customer.

Building loyalty is much harder work, and it requires not only valuing customers, but liking them enough to have a conversation every day. Bringing passion and excitement to that conversation requires genuine enthusiasm for your own products and mission. It’s nothing less than answering the question, “What should this company be?”

Read full article… by Alexander Jutkowitz

Posted by: SteveMcAuliffe | November 26, 2014

A Word Of Thanks

Thanksgiving From The Beach

Dear Friends,

The season has begun! And before everyone gets too caught up in the excitement of the holidays, I want to pause a moment to offer a simple thank you. Your confidence, ongoing encouragement and new friendships enrich us all and help us appreciate our own many blessings. We’re truly honored by your continued support. Best wishes to you and your family for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving Day!


Posted by: SteveMcAuliffe | April 30, 2014

There’s More To Great Branding Than Advertising

Brand StoryAs digital disrupts more marketplaces, brands become more important and valuable – not less. They provide meaning and satisfy emotional needs. As consumers experience information overload, the tendency to gravitate toward what’s familiar increases. At the same time, reliance on traditional tools, like advertising, corporate identity programs, and PR, to build brands is waning. So how can companies strengthen their brands? Look at Apple: Since its “Think Different” ad campaign, it has withdrawn from image-building ads, kept a smaller marketing budget, and instead, focused brand efforts on creating a well-designed, holistic product experience. Firms must be able to tell a meaningful story through actions and products, not words in ads or statements. Products and services should encapsulate a brand and communicate value without an additional layer of advertising. Make your brand more central and embed it across the customer value chain.

Full article at Harvard Business Review

Posted by: SteveMcAuliffe | November 26, 2013

Is Storytelling a Science?

Stories have the power to hold human attention and shape our thinking.

Master storytellers are wizards who lull us into a trance.  When entranced by story, we lose track of our immediate surroundings as our minds teleport us into an alternative story universe.


Humans live in a storm of stories. We live in stories all day long, and dream in stories all night long. We communicate through stories and learn from them. We collapse gratefully into stories after a long day at work. Without personal life stories to organize our experience, our own lives would lack coherence and meaning.

Most of us think of stories as a way to pleasantly while away our leisure time. Is there any evidence that story is actually effective in influencing us–in modifying our thinking and behavior? Yes. Lots.  They infect the audience and have the unique power to change minds.

Is it now time for the next wave in storytelling?  The digital revolution has put a massive number of new and powerful tools at the storyteller’s disposal. And if technology has revolutionized our tools, shouldn’t this lead to a revolution in the stories themselves?

Everything in the digital universe is two-way, interactive, and collaborative. Interactivity seems to be the holy grail… but is that good?

Interaction is precisely what most of us don’t want during story time. Wouldn’t you rather have the sensation of falling through the pages of a book and losing track of yourself in a land of make-believe.

Excerpts from Fast Company articles by Jonathan Gottschall

Posted by: SteveMcAuliffe | November 19, 2013

A Word of Thanks…

Thanksgiving GratitudeThe season is upon us! And before everyone gets caught up in the excitement of the holidays, I’d like to pause a moment to offer a simple Thank You.

Your confidence, your ongoing encouragement and your new friendships enrich us all and help us appreciate our own many blessings.

We’re truly honored by your continued support. Our best wishes to you and your family for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving Day!

With Gratitude,


Posted by: SteveMcAuliffe | November 12, 2013

Dismantling the Sales Machine

Sales leaders have long fixated on process discipline, monitoring reps’ conformance to “optimal” behaviors and their performance of specified activities. Recently, however, this sales machine has stalled. The approaches that once led to predictable progress in a sale do not work with today’s customers, who are empowered with more information than ever before.

The New World of SalesThe new environment favors creative and adaptable sellers who challenge customers with disruptive insights into their housing needs—and offer unexpected solutions. Such “insight selling” gives associates latitude to discover what the customer has already concluded about its needs and the available solutions, determine who the decision makers are, look for signals that the customer is receptive to a new insight about their home, and then figure out how best to proceed.

Most organizations, despite faltering sales performance, still have a climate that emphasizes compliance rather than judgment.

To create a judgment-oriented sales climate, managers must serve as connectors within and beyond their teams, providing a continual flow of information that supports sales professionals as they exercise their judgment on individual transactions. These managers must also focus on the long term, monitoring customers’ behaviors and directing associate’s creativity and critical thinking to the most-promising opportunities. And they need to hire champions—not necessarily those with sales backgrounds—who can thrive in the new climate.

Please read entire HBR article here

Posted by: SteveMcAuliffe | July 29, 2013

4 trends that will define housing in the second half of 2013

Real estate experts are sounding off on the trends that will help shape the sector in the second half of 2013.

Good article in Forbes shared by Builder Online.

Posted by: SteveMcAuliffe | July 17, 2013

4 Keys To Turning Customers Into Brand Evangelists

In order to retain market share and keep up profitability, business leaders must continually look for new and innovative ways to engage their consumers.

To grow your brand, know what people find meaningful, connect with them thoughtfully, create joy they can’t live without, and believe in your employees…
Be Personal
Be Smart
Be Exciting
Be Yourself
Posted by: SteveMcAuliffe | April 23, 2013

Housing Market Synopsis

John Burns was on Fox Business News yesterday discussing a host of real estate market topics:

Investors: They won’t sell while home prices are going up.

Entry-level buyers: 30% of buyers are entry-level which is a typical number, but you would think the percentage would be higher given the recovery and the number of homeowners with no equity.John Burns--Housing Market

Gen-Y Homeownership: We ballpark that they will achieve 5% lower due to high-debt. More research is needed here.

Normal Seasonal pickup: Let’s not make a headline out of seasonally adjusted annual existing home sales being down 0.6% month over month.

California Inventory: Two (2) of our team members have received unsolicited offers on the California homes they live in

California Growth: California’s housing market is hot, despite increasing reports from our clients in Texas and Nevada that they are seeing a surge of affluent Californians moving in to avoid the new 13.3% top tax rate.

Southeast Lag: The Southeast is late to the recovery partially because investors believe that price appreciation will be less likely (note-our Consulting SVP in Atlanta, David Kalosis, reports that the markets in Atlanta and the Carolinas have improved dramatically this Spring).

Fed Stimulus: How long will the Fed keep buying $45 billion per month in mortgage securities to keep rates down?

Get in Now: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, monthly housing payments are near all-time lows and are trending up.

Pent-up Demand: Consumers can now look in the rear view mirror and see that they should have bought 6 months ago. This should increase demand.

Watch video…

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