Every week, we ask an Boston real estate professional for their thoughts on the top trends in Boston real estate.
This week, we talked with Timothy Keator, a senior loan officer with Mortgage Master. Keator, who holds a PhD in conflict and leadership from Gonzaga University, is certified in strategic negotiations in conflict management. Prior to joining Mortgage Master, Keator worked work state and local government agencies and assisting in a number of private mediations, ranging from domestic disputes and custody arrangements to small and equal opportunity employment claims.
Boston Agent (BA): An important part of maintaining a successful and sustainable business is building relationships with your clients. What do you do to make sure your client relationships are strong and long-lasting?
Timothy Keator (TK): Communication is king! Without communication there is no client list; there are no referrals; and there is no business. Stay in front of the client with information and knowledge – provide them with valuable information and be an asset to them. I do not see myself as a loan officer, or a salesman; I see myself as a teacher and educator. If you provide someone with the right education, then you empower them to make good, solid decisions. Maintaining a long-lasting relationship with a client is no different than any other relationship – honesty, patience, and communication will always result in loyalty and trust.
BA: The National Association of Realtors recently reported that July marked the fourth consecutive month of increasing existing-home sales. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, believes this is evidence of the market rebounding from a weak start to the year. Do you agree with Yun, and do you think these increases are sustainable?
TK: I think that any increase from where we were to where we are would be looked at as a strong rebound, and I do agree with Yun in part. However, the spring market always brings new buyers and an influx of real estate as a whole – and every year the fall market dies down. The question is – how strong will 2015 spring be in comparison to 2014?
With the housing market continuing to rise, the interest rates holding (at least for now) and a large population of young adults looking to capitalize on strong housing growth and low rates – I believe the 2015 spring market will be even stronger than 2014. Many people have been waiting the market out to find out if prices will level off and rates will go down again – if the projections are correct, the rates will begin to rise and many of those on the sidelines will jump in the game in order to avoid missing the chance at historically low interest rates.
BA: Home prices are increasing throughout the country, but personal finances are still failing to keep pace. Considering upcoming changes in monetary policy that will likely increase mortgage rates, coupled with the price increases and stagnant financial situations, is there a fear that prices are going to grow too exorbitant?
TK: Yes – there is always that chance. We all saw the bubble burst and it can certainly happen again, but because it is still fresh in our minds and the overall sense of the public is aware of the repercussions, I don’t see another large housing bubble in the near future. What is more likely to happen is that housing prices will continue to rise steadily and flatten as the rates rise. This will allow people looking to buy, a small window of opportunity to purchase at a relatively low interest rate. After that I believe the housing prices and the interest rates will grow at a similar pace to what they have done in the past.