Lenderama is the fastest blog on RE.net. By that, I mean we have the fastest contributors. More than half of us own sports cars. I own an insanely fast snowmobile, another owns one of the quickest motorcycles money can buy. One contributor actually races her supercharged and super-light car at the track. And then there’s Robert Ashby, who flies jets.
Hi Robert. How did you come to the decision to start blogging?
I was bored. No, in all seriousness, I felt that blogging was the new way to provide education to the masses and since hardly anyone knew about mortgage planning and many concepts surrounding mortgages, I decided to start blogging about them. I actually started by simply using some articles I wrote previously, posting them to my ActiveRain site. I felt AR was the best avenue back then, but felt compelled to “break away” last summer, starting up Florida Mortgage Report. Other blogs I work on allow different avenues with which to provide input.
I have competition? I never really think of it that way as there is plenty to go around and I only cover Florida anyway. I have fun providing my insights and opinions; even to those people may consider my competitors. If they can use the information to their benefit, more power to them.
As for other professionals, I want them to know the information and help them. Hopefully, real estate agents, financial planners, etc. will want to work with me and take a moment to contact me to set up a time to discuss working together. I do not actively seek new relationships, hint, hint. If relationships develop, great. If not, oh well.
As a part time pilot, you’re constantly on the road. what tools do you use to connect and communicate on the Internet while away from home?
Well, actually I am a full time pilot, though I try to only fly weekends. Occasionally, I am stuck flying all day during the week, but that is not the norm. I am switching aircraft to try to minimize the “downtime” created from me being airborne even more. As for tools, I do not know where to begin as it is virtually a fully automated office at this point.
It starts with the office call that is answered by the computer if no one gets to it first. The message is recorded to the hard drive and a copy sent via email to me, so I get the message no matter what country I am in. Of course there is an online application as well. Other tools include the ability to electronically send docs, sign them, and even get them to the lender. The entire process from application to underwriting can be completed in hours versus days and it doesn’t matter where in the world I am, just need to be able to access the Internet (and now we are getting that on the airplane – no, I won’t be blogging while flying, but I may be blogging from the plane from the back).
Much of the commentary you share through blogging concerns the mortgage market. What are some of the tools you use to gather and evaluate what’s happening in the market every day?
I get my information from everywhere. I have feeds from Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, NY Times, MarketWatch, Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald, and many more. I also use feeds from other bloggers and link back to them if I use their post. I watch the bond market through Mortgage Market Guide, but don’t listen much to their commentary anymore as I like piecing it together myself. I also have CNBC on in a background window on my computer, which I can maximize if I hear something of interest.
What are some of your favorite blogs?
Of course I am biased towards Lenderama and Agent Genius since they allow me to contribute there. I do like Bloodhound Blog as well. I have feeds from way too many to list, but most of those interviewed here are on my list (or soon will be). My biggest problem is finding time to visit and comment since between news and blog feeds, I get over 1,000 posts a day that I view (and that is outside my “client time”), which brings up a point I would like to make. Fellow bloggers, if nothing else, that should stress the importance of your headlines since if it doesn’t catch the eye, it gets deleted before it even gets looked at.
What advice do you have for agents who are just starting a new blog?
Be yourself. I have always mentioned that blogging should be an extension of you. Your posts should follow along the lines of if the person you are targeting is in the office and you are having a conversation with them. There are times when you can deviate from that, but remember that your readers want to know if they want to do business with you, so your blog should demonstrate your level of knowledge, expertise and personality. If you blog well, your readers will be sold on your services before they even contact you.