Is This Really the End of ‘Flip or Flop’—and Tarek and Christina El Moussa?

What a crazy year it’s been for soon-to-be-divorced house flippers Tarek and Christina El Moussa: Between all the fighting and infidelities, it’s a miracle they didn’t cry, shout, or pout a whole lot more on camera (although we heard plenty of that was happening behind the scenes). But at long last, they’ve made it to the finish line. The “Flip or Flop” finale is upon us, and with no word on whether HGTV will continue the series, this might be the last time we see them on air together. Ever!

Although it must be an utter relief to Tarek and Christina that they don’t have to fake-smile at each other all day, we have to admit that for all their foibles, this house-flipping duo is riveting to watch. So, we clung to every last shot of this particular show, ironically titled “Beaming With Potential,” which kicks off with a doozy plot twist:

Please, Mr. Postman

Send me news, tips, and promos from realtor.com® and Move.

Tarek gets caught in a lie.

Here’s how it goes down: Tarek walks into a nail salon where Christina and their daughter, Taylor, are getting mani-pedis. All is fine until his daughter invites him to get a pedicure, too. Tarek feigns being freaked out.

“This is more stressful than flipping houses!” he says as he gingerly sits down and puts his feet in the water. That’s when he gets caught.

“You want the same thing you had last time?” asks the nail technician as she begins to scrub his feet.

While Christina and Taylor gleefully crack up, knowing full well Daddy’s been busted, Tarek sputters, “No, there is no last time. … This is the first time!”

Yeah right, Tarek.

Once their tootsies have been buffed and polished to perfection, Tarek and Christina turn to business—and, as always, teach us tons about house flipping in the process. Behold these final few lessons from the finale of “Flip or Flop.” Godspeed, El Moussas!

Lesson No. 1: Even the homeliest homes can be flipped

Tarek wants to buy a four-bedroom ranch in Cypress, CA, for $425,000. At first Christina isn’t into it, describing the place as “the worst I’ve ever seen.”

We have to agree with her. You can almost smell the stench through the smart TV when Christina wrinkles her perfectly pert nose and cries, “Honestly, it smells like 5,000-year-old milk!”

She further exclaims, “There’s spiderwebs, there’s fur, there’s poo! I don’t even know what happened in there. This is a disaster!”

Still, they decide to take it on, so clearly they see something beyond this ugly exterior.

Lesson No. 2: Never mess with the structural integrity of a house

At first, this flipping team is encouraged by the presence of a “pony wall,” or half-wall, separating the kitchen from the family room, and it seems like it would be easy to open up the room by simply knocking through. Then the contractor notices that the ceiling above the pony wall is sagging. Further investigations reveal that the previous owners had removed a load-bearing stud, which means the ceiling could collapse at any time.

At this point, they have two options: Build a pillar in the middle of the room, or run a support beam across the ceiling. Christina persuades Tarek to do the latter. Sure, it costs them thousands of dollars they hadn’t planned on spending, but it beats getting buried in rubble.

Lesson No. 3: There’s always a way to create more space

The house is only 1,200 square feet, so there’s not much room for expansion. But hey, where there’s a will, there’s a way, right? This time, Christina and Tarek find a way to augment the cabinet space by closing off two unnecessary doors—one to the master bedroom, and one to the backyard. After all, both the backyard and master bed have other ways to get in and out, so why have two avenues when one will suffice?

Lesson No 4: Pests are gross. Period.

One of the bedrooms is paneled—and, once the panels are torn off, reveals something that makes Christina scream, “It looks like a horror movie! That is so disgusting! What is it?”

“It’s a whole termite colony,” explains the contractor. Yep, termites have created a “city” behind the paneling that looks like a flesh-eating virus has invaded the drywall. Thankfully, though, further digging reveals that these pests haven’t eaten all the way down to the studs. That’s their one stroke of luck in a whole hot mess of bad, from calling in an exterminator to overhauling the drywall.

How’d it go?

In the end, since comps in the neighborhood hover around $600,000 and Tarek and Christina have already spent $560,000, they decide to list the house for $629,900. But after a few weeks on the market with no offers, they lower the price to $619,000 and get an offer. After adding closing costs, they make just over $60,000 on the deal.

So Tarek and Christina finish “Flip or Flop” on a victorious note, at least from a business standpoint. Still, though, we can’t help but wonder what lies ahead for this couple. Will we ever see them again?

Although the future is uncertain, rumor has it that Christina is lobbying for her own spinoff. Meanwhile, HGTV has announced it’s developing new versions of “Flip or Flop” in Las Vegas; Atlanta; Fort Worth, TX; Nashville; and Chicago. The Las Vegas version will premier April 7. Rest assured, we will be assessing how these new shows compare with the original.

Still, we have to say it will be hard to replace Tarek and Christina El Moussa. We miss them already.

Source: realtor.com

Fintech Startup Plaid Launches Income Verification Tool

PMG360 is committed to protecting the privacy of the personal data we collect from our subscribers/agents/customers/exhibitors and sponsors. On May 25th, the European’s GDPR policy will be enforced. Nothing is changing about your current settings or how your information is processed, however, we have made a few changes. We have updated our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy to make it easier for you to understand what information we collect, how and why we collect it.

Source: themortgageleader.com

HUD Secretary Says No Plans to Cut FHA Premiums

PMG360 is committed to protecting the privacy of the personal data we collect from our subscribers/agents/customers/exhibitors and sponsors. On May 25th, the European’s GDPR policy will be enforced. Nothing is changing about your current settings or how your information is processed, however, we have made a few changes. We have updated our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy to make it easier for you to understand what information we collect, how and why we collect it.

Source: themortgageleader.com

Mortgage Rates Rise for Seventh Straight Week

Mortgage rates are on an upward run that has now lasted seven consecutive weeks. So reports Bloomberg.

According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.18% in the week ending April 1.

That’s up one basis point from the previous week, but it’s the highest level since June, and it compares with an all-time low of 2.65% in early January.

Read the full article from Bloomberg.

Source: themortgageleader.com

5 Ways to Win in a Purchase Money Market in the New Reality

During my recent conversations with sales leaders, managers across the board expressed concern about their originators adapting to the new environment of rising interest rates and the shift to purchase money.

Sherlock: not having an accurate view of sales performance is a recipe for disaster
Pat Sherlock

The decline in refinance business is a reality with mortgage applications dropping 43% in the last week, according to the MBA. This raises a critical question: how many lenders and originators will be able to transition to a purchase money marketplace when the easy money of refinancing is replaced by the hard work of finding customers who want to purchase and finance a home?

Every experienced mortgage lender has certainly witnessed big changes in interest rates over the last 20 years. Sometimes it happens quickly. Other times it can be a slow climb to higher interest rates. This time, it is a little of both. The global pandemic caused the Fed to drop interest rates to historic lows and now, with the end in sight, rates are inching back up.

The real question for lenders and originators that have 90%+ refinance business is: can they switch to the traditional purchase money market that still depends on local relationships or will they decide to sell out to other, better structured lenders? Frankly, the selling out strategy has likely already run its course, leaving lenders that have not invested in digital technology or sales training with few alternatives.

5 Steps to Success

That said, what changes should originators who have been living off of refinance lending make to succeed in a purchase money environment? Here are five recommendations:

  1. Develop a marketing plan. Yes, I know having a plan doesn’t seem like the right strategy when a loan officer is panicked and needs income. But, setting aside some time to analyze the market and identifying underserved opportunities is a worthwhile activity because where producers commit their time and marketing resources is always a balancing act. There are only so many hours in a day and spending them correctly matters a lot.
  2. Understand growth in the local area. An originator’s marketing plan should determine what home building activities in their local market are driving growth. Is it new construction, retirement homes, second homes, etc.? Every market is different and understanding where growth will be coming from is critical. Looking at the research the local municipality has already done is a good start.
  3. Identify underserved market opportunities and the people associated with them. Every market has underserved opportunities that some individuals have already recognized—you want to know these professionals. Rarely is an underserved market completely void of participants. An originator’s job is to develop relationships with the parties in the market before other loan officers decide to market to them. Building relationships takes time and requires originators to form relationships with builders, attorneys, real estate agents and other professionals.
  4. Don’t forget about previous customers. Since developing and building relationships is time-consuming, originators must also work their database of closed loans over the last several years. Former customers are already familiar with an originator’s service levels and a certain percentage might be interested in purchasing a second home or investment property. Some clients might be receptive to listening to a webinar on the latest trends in the local real estate market. This is a great opportunity for originators to partner with a realtor to target a particular audience. The real estate agent can provide his or her perspective as part of the webinar or live stream event. However originators reach out, they should avoid sending mass emails and direct mail. Consumers want a more personal, customized approach.
  5. Rekindle referral business. Originators who have a plan, determine their niche and develop relationships with referral sources and customers in an underserved marketplace are on the path to success in a purchase money environment. Working former customers is a smart way for producers to generate current business while establishing relationships with new referral sources.

Implementing all five strategies is a great way for originators to position themselves for robust performance in a purchase money market.

Pat Sherlock is the founder of QFS Sales Solutions, an organization that helps organizations improve their sales talent management and performance. For more information, visit https://patsherlock.com.

Source: themortgageleader.com

House Prices Continue to Soar But Growth May Be Moderating

U.S. home prices leapt again to start the year, according to a report by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, but monthly gains seem to be slowing. So reports MarketWatch.

The FHFA’s house price index indicates that prices were up 12% in January nationwide compared with January 2020 and up 1% from December 2020.

Lynn Fisher, the deputy director of the FHFA’s division of research and statistics, said that the month-over-month gain “is relatively still high, but represents the smallest month-over-month gain since June 2020.”

Read the full article from MarketWatch.

Source: themortgageleader.com

Digital Mortgage Platform Maxwell Lands $16.3M in Funding

Maxwell, a digital platform serving small to mid-size mortgage originators, has raised $16.3 million that it plans to use for product development, market penetration and hiring. So reports Crowdfund Insider.

Launched in 2016, the company says it uses artificial intelligence to speed up and simplify the mortgage process for community lenders and home buyers.

“With this latest round of funding, we will deliberately and rigorously invest in the future we initially set out to pursue five years ago: a better, more efficient mortgage experience for community lenders and their borrowers,” Maxwell co-founder and CEO John Paasonen wrote on the company’s website.

Read the full article from Crowdfund Insider.

Source: themortgageleader.com

Strong Hiring Growth Continues in March as Jobs Gap Persists

A year after the pandemic began to hit the U.S. economy, employers have gone on a hiring spree. So reports Reuters.

According to the Labor Department’s closely watched employment report, nonfarm payrolls leapt by 916,000 jobs in March, more than expected and the largest rise since August 2020.

More than 22 million jobs were lost in March and April of last year as the coronavirus broke out, and economists project that it could take at least a couple of years to get them all back.

Read the full article from Reuters.

Source: themortgageleader.com

Austin Tops List of Hottest Commercial Property Markets

Austin, Texas, is No. 1 in the hearts of commercial real estate investors. So reports CultureMap Austin.

Based on a new survey by CBRE, Austin is seen as the U.S. metro area with the best investment outlook for this year.

No. 2 is Dallas-Fort Worth, followed at No. 3 by last year’s top-spot holder, Los Angeles. Austin was No. 3 in 2020.

Read the full article from CultureMap Austin.

Source: themortgageleader.com

Bodnar of MMG: Heightened Inflation Fears Fading

Bill Bodnar of the Mortgage Market Guide (MMG) notes that this week we watched long-term yields improve along with stocks hitting all-time highs. The American Jobs Plan was released and time will tell whether it is stimulative to the economy or not.

Bodnar says the MMG doesn’t see consumer inflation being a problem longer-term and it appears as though the bond market is sensing that as well.

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Source: themortgageleader.com