My 12 Month Outlook On the Mortgage Industry – and Beyond
I spend most every morning in front of the computer – taking in the play-by-play on the economy, real estate market, mortgage landscape, etc.
And here’s the conclusion I always seem to come to: I don’t understand macroeconomics well enough to have an intelligent opinion as to where we’re headed. Furthermore, I don’t believe that our elected officials understand any better than I do. Here’s what I think I know:
1) Our entire economic system is built primarily on fairy dust in the form of:
a: Consumer Confidence – In other words, if the mainstream media gets a hold of enough good news from one day to the next, we consumers can let out of that big sigh of relief and get back to …
b: Consumption – Because it’s simple really. We replace our ’98 Camry with an ’09 Passat. Progress has been made. Jobs have been created. With any luck, technology will continue creating reasons for us to ditch old for new.
2) Today begins the 2nd half of 2009. It appears real estate values have begun to stabilize (depending on who you listen to). Corporate earnings have been better than expected (for the most part). So things “seem” to be looking up.
I had lunch with Jim and Alan from Phoenix Global Mortgage yesterday at one of my favorite spots – the Cheesecake Factory at the Perimeter Mall just outside the “perimeter” of Atlanta. I’ve probably conducted 20 business lunches there over the past 5 years (great location, fun atmosphere, good food). If you didn’t show up for lunch at 11:30, you weren’t getting seated for a solid hour. The place was always mobbed. Check out the picture I took from the parking lot after lunch with Jim and Alan:
For those of you in Atlanta, this is what the parking lot at Perimeter Mall might look like at 1AM on a Tuesday, not the height of the lunch rush.
So here’s Mark Green’s personal economic forecast for the next 12 months, and beyond.
1) Consumers are making more intelligent purchase decisions.
And all I have to say to this is – It’s about damn time. The role of our mainstream media is to educate and inform us, right? Well they’ve downright paralyzed the economy. Long term, this will end up being a good thing. But what does it mean to us as entrepreneurs and salespeople?
2) Business will be harder to come by for all of us.
That statement either scares the bejeezus out of you or it excites you. I guess it depends on how confident you are in your ability to execute in a difficult economy. Shortcuts are getting ready to disappear, and for a long time.
3) Your skill set and sphere of influence database will be your only two weapons moving forward.
If you’re dependent on Lending Tree to fill your pipeline every month, and you haven’t been reinvesting into those relationships, you’ll be feeling the pain in your stomach that kept you up at night only 12 short months ago. Who is Lending Tree looking out for anyways – you or them?
If you’ve been slow diving into social media because it’s foreign to you, you’ll be feeling the pain too. It doesn’t matter that you don’t get Twitter. What matters is that your clients DO. Who are you looking out for – you or them?
Here’s the really good news. We’re in the service business. Therefore, we don’t have to deal with bugaboos like managing an inventory, retail space, etc. As small businesses, we have the ability to act quickly if we so choose – and without asking for permission from three layers of management. The next six months are going to shape your success for the next five years.
If you’re like my friend and client Scott Evans, you’re licking your chops because you’ve spent your entire career systematizing and executing. If you’re looking at the rest of your refi pipeline, nursing and caressing it, completely oblivious to how you’re going to compete in a strictly purchase environment, I hope this article serves as a wake up call.
Based on what I saw at the Cheesecake Factory yesterday, I can’t imagine that the economy is anywhere close to a recovery. In fact, I think the worst is yet to come. And I’m very okay with that. It doesn’t scare me one bit. My personal finances are in order because I made some good financial decisions at home. Professionally, I’ve surrounded myself with the best talent I could find. I trust them and they trust me. We have a plan, and each day we come into the office and execute on that plan. If the market recovers, that would be a lot of fun. If it doesn’t, it’s still going to be a lot of fun.
Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Focus on innovation and execution. See the people. And above all, construct your life and your business to where the 11:00 news doesn’t affect your overall happiness one way or the other. The way I see it, whether the economy tanks or whether it explodes – 2010 is going to be a fantastic year for me. And I hope the same is true of you too.