Archive for February, 2006

Retrolounge

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

Retrolounge – Bringing you the best of bygone eras. And after all, any site that has a link to Epiclectic’s Vintage Vinyl can’t be all bad.

Broker Training: Course 2 Completed

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

Took a month longer than I planned, since there were a number of distractions during the month, but I finally blocked out 2 hours and completed the Real Estate Brokerage and Office Administration course. 89% on this test.

Since these are online, open-book exams, there really should be no excuse for not getting 100% every time. However, my personal philosophy is to try to respond with as little research during the test as possible – and measure if I really know the content.

In this particular case, the subject covered much of the material that I had been exposed to years ago during my project management and leadership courses at Fluor.

Now cracking the shrinkwrap on Real Estate Economics textbook and targeting mid-March for the test.

Thanks for caring. :)

YouTube Discovered

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

I just discovered this great site for locating and viewing obscure film and video clips. Of course, I was able to uncover some great memories of Ian Hunter and Mott the Hoople that I hadn’t seen in years – or ever. Check it out.

For The Public Record

Sunday, February 19th, 2006

Decided it was time to let the world know what a piece-of-crap a custom made, goose-down filled sofa from La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries looks like. After waiting 5 months for delivery after we ordered this, we quickly discovered that not only does the sofa look like an unmade bed once you stand up, in a matter of days, the feathers actually start sticking through the fabric.

After many calls to La-Z-Boy, they sent someone out to examine the couch, and agreed that it shouldn’t look like that, or be “leaking” feathers. So, a month later, they delivered brand new cushion inserts. Think that fixed it? Nope – it returned to its original condition in a matter of days.

What happened to the local La-Z-Boy store? Its been demolished. Word to the wise – NEVER, I REPEAT NEVER GET A SOFA WITH DOWN-FILLED CUSHIONS!

[Apologies to my friends who have heard this story way too many times and are wondering why we don’t just shitcan it and get a new sofa.]

3D Painted Rooms

Friday, February 17th, 2006

I love this kind of stuff. Why do ordinary, when you can get people to look at something, nod their head, and say “yeah – that’s cool.” Where’s my paint brush?

Honesty – Revolutionary Marketing Approach

Friday, February 10th, 2006

As you can probably guess by now, I’ve some strong opinions about the current state of the mortgage business – or rather all of the unproductive static that permeates the mortgage business. I’m a mortgage professional trying to make an honest living, and I have to differentiate myself – a real challenge considering the current pothole-ridden landscape.

At this point, the specific thing that is a burr under my saddle is spam email. I absolutely can not understand why anyone would read, let alone click on one of those hundreds of emails that all look alike, and tell YOU that you have been “pre-approved” for a $500,000 loan with payments of $800 per month – even though you have bad credit, bankruptcy, unemployed, etc. In spite of all the misspellings, pidgin english, and the ridiculous paragraph of nonsensical jibberish that appears for some unknown reason at the bottom of each message, many innocent homeowners DO click on the links with every intention of discovering how they can save so much money. The result of their inquisitiveness? They fill in a form on an anonymous website, and subsequently receive 100’s of phone calls and emails that irritate and overwhelm. If they aren’t prepared, they could easily be pressured into having everyone pull their credit, lower their scores even further, and force them to take a loan they are afraid to back out of.

So, I got to thinking, what would be the result of taking a completely different marketing approach using email as the delivery method. Let me offer my version of a prototype email that I believe would trigger action on the part of the reader, and get them the results they are looking for – without the pain:

Subject: IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR REFI REQUEST

Dear Homeowner,

It is my understanding that you recently completed a form on the internet expressing an interest in a home mortage or refinancing. You have, therefore, received many more responses than you may have expected. 3-4 lenders may respond? Try 30-40 or more! A veritable feeding frenzy!

Before you delete this message, let me offer some advice:

DO NOT REPLY TO ANY MORTGAGE-RELATED EMAIL – not even this one!

DO NOT FILL IN ANY MORE FORMS ON THE INTERNET – you will open floodgates you can’t shut.

DO NOT GIVE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY # TO ANYONE OVER THE PHONE. NEVER!

DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS FROM YOUR EMAIL – who knows where it will take you!

So, you are probably asking yourself “why is this guy telling me this?” Well, its because most people don’t realize what will happen once they press the “submit” button on one of those forms. Because I take my profession seriously, I can only try to educate in an attempt to correct the damage that has already been done.

IF you want to take charge of the situation, here are a few suggestions:

USE THE TELEPHONE – Pick up the phone and call the mortgage companies you wish to do business with, when it is convenient for YOU. And call the ones you DON’T wish to do business with and have them take you off their call list.

CHANGE YOUR VOICEMAIL – If you want the calls to stop, record a message to the effect “if you are calling about refinancing, this has already been taken care of ; so please remove me from your call list.” Believe it or not, this will work wonders at reducing the number of calls.

BE HONEST AND GET IT OVER WITH – If you happen to take a call at work or at home and have no interest in talking now, or in the future, don’t ask the caller to call back later. Guess what? They will and it will always be the wrong time. Tell them to take you off their call list. Tell them you have their name and number and will call them in the future when you are comparing programs. Or, tell them not to call you again.

In closing, if you have read this far, you probably realize that I am not “selling” you anything. Honestly, I am offering you information, and my services. If you would like to discuss anything I have said here, or would like to explain your refinancing goals to me, I would be more than happy to speak with you. I am a CA licensed mortgage professional, and work with a wide-variety of lenders, offering hundreds of loan programs that can be customized to fit your situation.

You can reach me toll-free in Southern California at 888-457-1777 x227.

Let me wish you all the best,

Steve Weidemann
www.mortgageandlending.com (don’t click this, right?)
15331 Barranca Pkwy, Suite 200
Irvine, CA 92618

By the way, while this was offered as a prototype message, if you are seriously interested in discussing the refinancing of your home in California, Oregon, Colorado, Wyoming, contact me at the phone number or address listed above. I would love to speak with you.

Mortgage Leads: The Business of Screwing Business

Wednesday, February 8th, 2006

In a little over a year, I have developed an extreme contempt for ANYONE involved in the business of gathering or selling “information” related to connecting people who are interested in refinancing with the investors or brokers that can provide them the money they are looking for. These “lead companies” make their money in a Ponzi scheme fueled only by the existence of email, the internet, and the uninformed.

Here is how I think it operates; and I dare someone prove me wrong:

Enter Level 1 – Bob wants to make money but has absolutely NO marketable skills. Somehow, he gets partnered up with this guy, Adam, that has the secret to unlimited wealth. For only $5, Bob purchases a list of people from Adam – lets say there are 10,000 names – that has information about their home, property value, when it was last sold, and email address. All Bob has to do is simply send an email to each of the names on his list. He doesn’t even have to read English or compose a sentence since the body of the email is contained on a CD containing sample email templates. Imagine sitting at the computer and, between sessions of playing Everquest, copy, paste and send email. Life couldn’t be easier! Adam has received $5 and moves on to locate other “Bobs”.

No doubt you have seen the spam and junk mail that flows freely into your email inbox, right? Ever wonder how someone could possibly know that YOU have been prequalified for a $500,000 home loan at 3.5% regardless of your credit history or bankruptcy? Reality check, people! They aren’t talking to you. They are playing the odds that someone out there will think it was targeted for them, and respond willingly. [My question to you: Are these people really interested in refinancing? I say, “no”.]

Now for the payoff. For EVERY person that receives the email, clicks on the requisite link, completes and then submits a “so you want to refinance” form, Bob receives $1 dollar! Do the math: Bob recovers his “investment” when only 5 people respond. Hell, that’s only .05 %. Everything after that is gravy! Bob envisions himself vacationing in the Bahamas and running his business from his Blackberry.

Enter Level 2 – All of completed forms from “interested borrowers” are routed to a central database run by SlimeBall Leads Inc. that pays Bob and the thousands of others like him that Adam conned out of their $5 bills. Now, SlimeBall has a product that they can market to interested consumers – in this case, mortgage companies, banks, lenders, investors. That is, the people with the money! (You see where this is going?). Slimeball’s marketing team begins a telemarketing program to hook interested purchasers of these leads.

Lets suppose Mr. Mortgage needs to buy leads. After being contacted by SlimeBall, and listening to their pitch of why THESE leads are better (i.e. confirmed, checked, validated, pre-screened, etc) they agree to purchase 20 leads per day at $20 each. SlimeBall promises that they will not be sold to any more than 4 other lenders. Money changes hands and SlimeBall Leads ends up with $2,000 each week. Now, because there is no honor among thieves, they sell this same “package” to 10 other lenders (who’s counting, right?) That’s $20,000 a week to SlimeBall for its hard work. Actually, since they had to pay all of the Bob’s for the leads, they only end up with a profit of $19,900. (Do you think they report this as income on their taxes?)

Enter Level 3 – After SlimeBall Leads has sold all of its $20 lead packages to its “A-List” companies, and a week or so has gone by, they now sell these packages at $2 per lead to secondary lead resellers, such as BabySlime Co. So, another $200 into SlimeBall’s coffers per reseller.

Enter Level 4 – BabySlime Leads markets its “special discounted” leads for only $5 per lead to brokers, lenders, mortgage companies in a similar fashion as SlimeBall. But because the price per lead is much less, the unsuspecting purchasers are willing to “give it a shot”. For every package they sell, BabySlime Leads make $300, for 150% profit. Multiply that times the number of BabySlime companies out there and you can picture this dysfunctional, fractal universe.

So just what part of the mortgage business is this anyway? You end up with all this money changing hands and very little business of refinancing homeowners taking place.

So today, I come across this “innovative” offering, which makes me ask myself “who’s zooming who?” Wonder how they make their money? I have changed nothing from the way it was posted on the net, and you can see it is a pretty lame attempt at trying to legitimize itself. What a crock of shit!!!

Enter Level 5

About LeadPortal.com

LeadPortal.com is going to bring Big Brother to the lead buying and selling business. LeadPortal.com will monitor both the lead companies and the mortgage brokers in the system and remove anyone who can not the follow the rules. Lead companies and mortgage brokers will have to agree upon a standard set of guidelines for lead returns and lead quality. LeadPortal.com will handle the lead return process to ensure that it is not abused by either side of the transaction. Mortgage brokers must prepay for mortgage leads and lead companies will not be paid for leads that are returned. LeadPortal.com will publish real time statistics for lead returns so it will become very evident very quickly which lead companies are selling bad leads and which brokers are returning too high a percentage of leads. This will self regulate all parties because if return percentages grow to high for a lead company, nobody will buy from them and if mortgage brokers return too high of a percentage, no lead company will sell to them. For security reasons and to keep parties from trying to circumvent the LeadPortal.com system, the lead company names and mortgage broker names will be held anonymous and will just be given ID’s by LeadPortal.com (who will know who everyone is obviously).

LeadPortal.com fills a void that has needed filling for some time now. A safe place for mortgage brokers to buy leads and a safe place for lead companies to sell leads.

Interested? Contact us at info@leadportal.com and we will put you on the mailing list for when the site will launch.

Out of Teeny Minds

Friday, February 3rd, 2006

ONCE UPON A TIME, there lived a young teeny tiny man, with his teeny tiny wife, in a teeny tiny house, with his teeny tiny family. His teeny tiny relatives and their teeny tiny friends constantly surrounded him. They spent all their time talking about teeny tiny things and teeny tiny people.

One day, the teeny tiny man, who we will call Tiny, woke up from his teeny tiny sleep with a not-so teeny tiny idea. He had a wondrous dream and knew that he was going be the most UN-teeny UN-tiny man in the world. So he set about to create a plan. He studied hard, worked hard, and became extremely intelligent and wound up becoming successful in BigPeopleCorporateWorld. He made UNteeny amounts of money and became quite wealthy at a young age. Tiny was happy, but his desire to achieve and acquire more-and-more continued to grow. So, he said goodbye to BigPeopleCorporateWorld and mapped out his plan for TINYLAND.

Because all his teeny tiny friends had always supported him with his new vision, he made sure to help find them opportunities and roles in TINYLAND. It is important to note at this point, that not all the teeny tiny friends and family had the same vision as Tiny, but they were more than happy to help him share his wealth. In fact, made all of his teeny tiny friends and family quite happy! “Hurrah” they would say.

Unfortunately, the world is made up of many people like Tiny, with fantastic ideas and visions for success, and they, too created their own versions of TINYLAND. In fact, many of them competed for the same business as TINYLAND, but were much more successful than Tiny. When Tiny’s income dwindled to nothing, this made Tiny quite sad. Even more so, the pressure that he now felt coming from all of his teeny tiny glomoners made him frustrated and angry. Even though Tiny had made it possible for them to surround themselves with all of the finest things in life, they offered no assistance in helping Tiny turn things around. In fact, they considered him a failure.

Desperate to save face with his teeny tiny friends and family, Tiny went back to the drawing board to design the next-generation TINYLAND. He called it SUPERTINYLAND, and it was bigger and better than anyone could imagine! He ventured out with his new plans and found others who believed in his vision, and, more importantly, were willing to pay him quite handsomely to develop SUPERTINYLAND into a reality. This made Tiny quite happy, and he looked forward to the day, once again, when he would be rich and famous beyond his wildest dreams.

Rather than tackle this new challenge with his personal desire, passion and drive on his own, he once again chose to bring along his teeny tiny entourage. Once again they would shout “Hurrah” with visions of $$$ dancing in their teeny tiny heads. Tiny would be their savior, once again and they would worship the ground he walked upon.

All was well, until opening day of SUPERTINYLAND.

Much to the dismay of the SUPERTINYLAND investors, nothing that Tiny had promised worked. Considering that Tiny had sold the investors of his teeny tiny friends and family being critical components of SUPERTINYLAND’s success, the investors realized that they had been foolish to believe the promises. As a result, they booted Tiny and his teeny tiny entourage to the curb.

TO BE CONTINUED…