Rocket Fuel Newsletter – 09/03/22
Think you can tell a property’s sale price by just one image? Give Listed a try – your goal is to guess the sale price within 1%. With each guess, you’ll get more details about the home.
This week’s edition includes a look at our own Condo Simply and a partner expanding at a rapid rate.
Fuel Up 🚀
The economy added 315k jobs in August as labor force participation still lags pre-COVID levels by 1%.
This means there are still two open jobs for every unemployed person, and the Fed will likely continue tightening policy.
The National Association of REALTORS® reports that condo sales in 2021 were up 22% from the previous year, at 707,000 (Existing-Home Sales - NAR).
This might not seem like a big number, but consider this as well: In 2021, the median price of a condo was $302,200, $54,900 below that of single-family homes ($357,100).
As home prices increase this year, you may get more questions about clients looking to buy a more affordable condo – you may be thinking, “Do I have to go answer yet another condo questionnaire?” Are you often unsure of which guidelines apply to specific condo projects?
Give our Condo Simply gadget a try!
Partner Spotlight – Rapid Home Loans
Abe Miri – Co-Founder & CEO
App you can’t live without: Chase Mobile, YouTube
Favorite vacation spot: Cancun, I’ve been there so many times. Easy, great price, great service, you always know what you’re gonna get.
First job: Bellacino’s making pizzas and subs in Dearborn.
Coffee/tea preference: Coffee with cream and sugar.
First concert: NSYNC when I was maybe 7 years old.
Famous local delicacy: Knafeh! It’s a sweet cheese dessert, they’ve got the best one here in Dearborn.
Favorite things about Rocket:
- Pricing Calculator: The pricing calculator is probably my favorite thing. That’s how we start our loans, then when we get the business, we put it into the portal.
- Portal interface: Everything is so user-friendly; nobody touches you guys.
- Pathfinder: Pathfinder is genius. You can get any document you want from any state in the resource tab.
Office vibe: We like to keep the vibe fun and energy high. … We like our team to walk into a place they’re excited to be at.
There’s a common answer among owners of mortgage shops when it comes to why they open their business: seizing an opportunity and sharing the unique perspective they have of the mortgage industry. The team of Abe Miri and Alex Abazid at Rapid Home Loans in Dearborn, MI, fits this mold perfectly.
“[Alex and I] sifted through what was and wasn’t working, and the timing of everything just worked out right. It was about understanding our value and what we can bring to the marketplace.”
The challenge for any new shop, including Rapid Home Loans, is how to scale the business once it’s up and running. Throw in a less-than-favorable rate environment for refinance loans and the difficulty compounds, though Abe remains undeterred.
“I always explain to the bankers, it’s a numbers game. … No matter what kind of rate environment we’re in, people always need help with second mortgages, debt consolidation, or buying a home. We just try to reiterate that rates will be what they’ll be, people will always need help in some way.”
As for their growth strategy amid a rising rate environment, Abe and Alex went about it in a slightly paradoxical way: relying on their community while also expanding nationwide into brand-new areas.
Located just west of downtown Detroit, Abe and Alex knew they had to create an environment that represented and promoted the hard-working, high-energy vibe of southeastern Michigan.
“Our goal was to sway away from the typical ‘work’ environment,” Alex says. “If you’re going to work, [you] might as well enjoy what you do.”
“We like to keep the vibe fun and the energy high,” Abe adds. “Obviously work comes first, but we don’t like to have a typical work feel. We like our team to walk into a place they’re excited to be at.”
“[Rocket ProSM TPO SVP Mike] Fawaz even stopped by and was really impressed with the setup.”
Once they opened their doors earlier this year, Abe and Alex tapped into their local ties to start generating business. Dearborn is a tight-knit community, and the two founders have relied almost solely on word-of-mouth advertising. Up next for the duo is building a larger social media presence, which they believe will complement the natural growth they’ve already experienced from friends and family around them.
Of course, there’s a large country outside of Dearborn and southeastern Michigan, and the Rapid Home Loans team has already begun expanding nationwide. Since they intend to write any kind of loan through more of a call center approach, they’ve been able to procure licenses in 12 different states and the District of Columbia.
“Just from the sheer numbers game, the more opportunities you have, the more chances you have to succeed. You can’t build something special without providing opportunity for your bankers.”
Along the way, they’ve learned valuable nuggets, like how Michigan dominates the credit trigger market, and Texas has stricter-than-normal credit score requirements for government loans. Their expansion has been fruitful, though Abe offers one pearl of wisdom for anyone looking to emulate their strategy.
“It’s expensive. We weren’t really anticipating the licensing costs being such a big thing. … Depending on how big you want to go, make sure you have the capital for it.”
Above all, though, Abe reiterates a common suggestion among successful brokers: Trust your team.
“It’s about the people you bring on; you can’t really scale without the people. Focus on building the right team and also the process itself. The process is essential for your team and clients, and ultimately closing loans.”
Rapid Home Loans is young, and there’s still plenty of room to grow. The company has already closed loans in six states since opening their doors back in February and could up that total past 10 states over the next few months. And while their two primary strategies may seem to clash, executing on both ultimately comes down to grit and hard work – values Abe and Alex have literally painted on their wall:
“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”
“We just like to establish a certain culture here,” Abe says. “In this line of work, it always requires a certain amount of hard work, and we want to instill in our folks that you’ve got to put in the work to get the results.”
Congrats to Isabel for a winning time of 41 seconds on last week’s puzzle! Four other solvers completed the puzzle in less than a minute, and second place was just two seconds behind Isabel.
This week’s puzzle gets 1 out of 5 Rockets.