Financial Friday

August 3, 2018

Fed Holds Interest Rates Steady For Now

The Fed voted unanimously on Wednesday to keep interest rates unchanged, but the statement they issued keeps the Fed on track to raise rates next month and again in December. The statement declared that the job market continues to strengthen, consumer spending has “grown strongly” and that “economic activity has been rising at a strong rate.”

Home Prices Increasing 2-3 Times The Rate Of Inflation

Home prices increased 6.4% in May, the same annual increase that was seen in April, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index. The year-over-year increases in the Index have topped 5% every month since August 2016. Cities in the Certainty Home Loans footprint in the survey are:

May 2018 May/April April/March 1-Year
Metropolitan Area Level Change (%) Change (%) Change (%)
Atlanta 145.82 1.0% 0.8% 5.6%
Charlotte 157.06 0.8% 0.8% 6.0%
Denver 215.15 0.8% 1.2% 8.5%

Congress passed a short-term flood insurance extension through November 30 on Tuesday. Avoiding a lapse in program authority will protect borrowers from closing delays, additional costs and other complications.

5 Reasons You Should Call Instead of Text

While text messages and email are the most efficient and more preferred method of communication for many younger homebuyers and sellers, certain nuances are lost without verbal communication. Here a five reasons why real estate professionals shouldn’t give up voice calling clients and prospects:

  1. More efficiency, more influence: Conversations can unfold more quickly and fluidly via phone call, which allows for a more natural flow of ideas.
  2. You can read emotions: Tone of voice, pauses, inflections, and choice of words give context and honest emotion to a conversation that cannot be found in an abbreviated text conversation.
  3. Talking is the great equalizer: Cultural and language differences do not always translate well over text. Phone conversations allow for a natural exchange of dialogue and easy clarification for unfamiliar terms.
  4. You can multitask: Speaking on the phone leaves both hands free for taking notes or driving with a hands free device.
  5. Improves both business and social skills: An efficient real estate professional should be able to effectively communicate in person and across all forms of technology to build the greatest number of personal and professional relationships. Choosing to connect solely through text or phone call only weakens these skills.

How to Differentiate Yourself in an Overcrowded Real Estate Industry 

Eager real estate agents are looking for emerging trends and new inspiration that will differentiate themselves from the crowd. However, many agents follow in the footsteps of other successful professionals instead of creating their own path. To truly differentiate yourself, consider what makes you unique and expound on it. Consider following these four steps to assist you in setting yourself apart from other agents.

  1. Determine your gift: Everyone has their own gift. If you don’t know yours or think yours is not cool enough, ask close friends and family members what they think is your most exceptional gift.
  2. Take control of your idea: What are you going to do with your gift now that you know what it is? As the pilot of your idea, consider using your gift as a communication tactic or marketing strategy.
  3. Be consistent: Use your gift consistently throughout your social media pages and professional interactions to build your brand. Over time, it will become your signature differentiator.
  4. Let it evolve: As technology and the real estate industry changes, so will the method of utilizing your gift. Consider following big trends like Facebook Live and Instagram Stories to better showcase yourself and your gift.

Public Relations Tips for Small Firms

Although costs can be high, investing in the right public relations agency can help small firms raise their profile and grow their business. Here’s when and when not to solicit outside PR help:

  • Navigating the Media Landscape: Access to an outlet with the power to engage the shifting landscape of media dissemination will help small firms reach a broader audience.
  • Establish Expectations: Many PR agencies can be hired on a proposal, commission, or per-project basis with specific checkpoints to assess performance. A measurable result ensures your brand is being marketed effectively while PR professionals are paid for their work.
  • Staying In-House: The price and fee structure of some PR agencies may be too high for your budget. If that is the case, consider handling all communications in-house. Instead of hiring a PR professional, network with other firms to promote your work and get your company out there.
  • Find an Advocate: Search for an agency that understands your business and industry, emphasizes your values, and can serve as a deeper level motivator.

Pros and Cons of Virtual Staging

77% of buyers’ agents say that staging a home makes it easier for buyers to visualize themselves living that a home. Virtual staging is a method of decorating a property to showcase its best features by digitally inserting décor. Though traditional staging is far more popular, virtual staging is great for vacant homes, homes with outdating furniture, and properties with tenants in them. Use this list of pros and cons to determine whether virtual staging is right for your homes.


  • Helps showcase an empty home’s best features
  • Cost-effective, compared to traditional staging
  • Attracts prospective buyers’ attention online
  • Offers the opportunity to stage any number of rooms
  • Allows you to stage flex rooms in multiple ways


  • Becomes more expensive when furniture or items from photos need removal
  • Can be difficult to use when the house is occupied
  • Furniture and décor only exist in the virtual space, so buyers will never see it in person




Information Courtesy of Jason Browning – Certainty Home Loans

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