Here in the Hill Country near Austin, Texas, there’s an active market of sellers and buyers of real estate. It is a safe bet that most use agents; around 90 percent of buyers use them, and Clever released data on average real estate commission rates in the U.S. as they stand now. Clever found that on the median-priced home of $431,000, the average U.S. home seller pays real estate commission fees of about $23,662. In a survey of 630 partner agents, the average real estate commission rate in the U.S. is 5.49 percent, divided between the listing agent (2.83 percent) and the buyer's agent (2.66 percent). The average commission rate rose from 5.37 percent in 2023. Most real estate agents typically work within a range of 2.5 percent to 3 percent. Several key factors influence this, such as property value, client relationship & circumstances, sale complexity, services provided, and market conditions. Hawaii is home to the lowest average real estate commission rate (4.78 percent), while West Virginia has the highest (6.67 percent). (Found here after 8:30AM ET, this week’s podcasts are sponsored by PHH Mortgage. From subservicing to correspondent lending, MSR/co-issue transactions, portfolio retention, reverse mortgages, and commercial servicing, PHH has solutions for the entire mortgage lifecycle. Hear an interview with Cross Country Mortgage’s Nicole Perrone on ways lenders are expanding production and capturing market share.)

Lender and Broker Products, Software, and Services

ICE Mortgage Technology® customers are experiencing exciting benefits from the integration between Simplifile® and The Closing Exchange, a leading provider of notary services and order management technology. This integration supports settlement agents and lenders who wish to conduct remote online notary (RON) transactions but may not have the necessary staff or infrastructure in place to facilitate such closings. By leveraging The Closing Exchange’s extensive network of notaries, and their expertise in performing signings, customers can now drive a better borrower closing experience by seamlessly leveraging a RON notary who is already set up in Simplifile® eSign Events™. Click here to learn more.

Long-term Rental or Vacation Rental? Visio Lending is the nation’s leader in Non-QM Investor DSCR loans for buy and hold SFR rentals with nearly a decade of experience and over $2.7 billion in originations. No-DTI, 30-year terms, rate buy downs, free 45-day rate locks; I/O and Sub-1 DSCR options available. Now choose your own title company (including on refinances). Through our top-notch Broker Program, brokers are able to earn up to 2 points YSP, and 5 points total. Visio Brokers can count on a designated Account Executive and in-house processing.

Understanding what you’re up against in this economy is paramount for every originator. You need to find opportunity, and we want to help you do just that. Join us Thursday, April 25 at 2 p.m. Eastern for a roundtable discussion featuring MAXEX President, COO and Co-founder Bill Decker, South Street Securities Managing Director Buck Thompson and AmeriVet Securities Head of U.S. Rates Greg Faranello. We’ll dive into the current headwinds, where customers are finding success and how you can break away from the traditional business as usual to build a more resilient foundation for the future. Register today to join the discussion.

Servicing Products

How does Servbank maintain such low delinquency rates? Because Servbank identifies and addresses delinquency risk before it has a chance to grow. They utilize their leading-edge technology to drive precise customer outreach and combine it with caring specialists, who work in partnership with customers to achieve positive resolutions. Together, this combination of people and tech, allows Servbank to stay ahead of the DQ curve, not to mention the rest of the market. And when delinquencies are kept low, everybody wins: It’s good for homeowners, the communities they live in, and you, the lender, by reducing your servicing advances, resulting in more monthly cash flow for you. Servbank blends the best of human - and tech-powered service to create excellence with superior performance. Learn more here.

DOWN TO THE ROOTS OF DARA CLAIMS. Dara by Sagent is a unified platform that includes a complete suite of tools for default servicing, and this is where Dara Claims makes a positive impact. It's the first-of-its-kind tool designed to improve recoverability while reducing risk and cost. Integrating automation and real-time data to simplify the claims process helps reduce manual data entry for servicers, opening up the opportunity to focus on nurturing stronger relationships with homeowners. For a deep dive into all things Dara Claims, read our blog here.

Fannie and Freddie Updates

Given that the lion’s share of mortgages is underwritten to Freddie & Fannie’s guidelines, or are processed to their guidelines, or are sold to them either directly or via a correspondent investor, the changes they make are closely followed.

Fannie Mae posted the March Appraiser Quality Monitoring (AQM) list.

Fannie Mae is taking a phased approach to Uniform Loan Delivery Dataset (ULDD) Phase 5 implementation to allow lenders time to begin providing new and updated values prior to the July 28, 2025, mandate. Refer to its new implementation guide for important transition information.

Freddie Mac Single-Family Seller/Servicer Guide Bulletin 2024-4 announced updates pertaining to Manufactured Home certification requirements as well as other updates that can impact your business and our borrowers.

On April 5, Fannie Mae updated its Selling & Servicing Guide pages to improve the user experience, with enhancements to content navigation and search functionality. These enhancements do not impact the Selling & Servicing Guide content or layout. While the Guide URLs and redirects will remain active until January 2025, bookmarks should be updated as soon as possible after April 5. View Fannie Mae’s Enhancements to Your Selling & Servicing Guide Experience.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs) announced the timeline and scope for the Uniform Closing Dataset (UCD) v2.0 Specification updates, and postponed UCD critical edits Phase 4 and 3B requirements.

Capital Markets

Bond yields hit 2024 highs to open the week with inflation in focus as investors continue to walk back interest rate cut expectations in the wake of Friday’s robust March NFP data. As a reminder, March's jobs report was yet another this year that exceeded economists’ expectations and saw the prior two months of data revised upward. Monthly job gains in the first quarter of 2024 averaged 276,333 compared to last year’s 251,083 monthly average. The continued strength in the labor markets means policy makers at the Federal Reserve have little incentive to lower the target for the fed funds rate.

The robust March payrolls report continues to weigh on bond markets as it means that any change to Fed policy will be likely pushed back to later in the year. The front-end of the yield curve was more reactive to changing rate cut expectations yesterday than the long-end, though rate cut expectations will be a moving target the next couple of days with the release of the March Consumer Price Index on Wednesday and March Producer Price Index on Thursday. CPI will be the most closely watched, and the headline number is expected to tick slightly higher to a 3.4 percent annualized rate compared to the previous report's 3.2 percent. This would be the highest rate of inflation since December. The core is expected to come in at a 3.7 percent clip, down from 3.8 percent in February.

“Fed speak” lately has been hawkish, and the sentiment for rate cuts seems to be fading fast. Minneapolis Fed President Kashkari last week raised the possibility of rate hikes if inflation doesn't continue to work its way lower, while Fed Governor Bowman declaring that progress on inflation "has stalled,” and Dallas president Logan added to the malaise when she declared it "much too soon" to think about rate cuts. Gasoline prices rose again in March as OPEC+ producers extended supply cuts, the Middle East conflict threatened to broaden, Ukraine attacked Russian refineries, and U.S. crude production leveled off near a record high. Nothing here points to a near-term rate cut, and investors have decreased their forecasts of Fed rate cuts this year to two as the most likely outcome, their most pessimistic outlook since late October. June fed funds futures now see slightly less than a 50-50 chance of a cut.

Today’s calendar began before the open with the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for March. Later today brings Redbook same store sales for the week ending April 6, and Treasury auctions that will be headlined by $59 billion 3-year notes. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices better by about .125 and the 10-year yielding 4.39 after closing yesterday at 4.42 percent; the yield curve inversion continues with the 2-year at 4.77.


Be The Key at Movement! Movement Mortgage’s new Be the Key program empowers loan officers and realtors to serve the Black community. Collectively we are unlocking the doors to homeownership, equity, and generational wealth across the country. Be the Key is part of Movement’s over-arching Grab the Key program, which also includes Grab the Key, Jr. These programs offer consumers and young students educational classes, community events and practical mortgage resources. For more information on these programs and how Movement’s diversity lending initiatives equip loan officers in a unique way, contact Montell Watson or visit Be a part of the change. Be the key.

Banner Bank, a top performing and globally recognized financial institution, has a unique opportunity for a VP, Mortgage Servicing Director in Southeast Washington. This part of the country offers breathtaking views of the panoramic wine country, a temperate climate, and some of the best outdoor opportunities in the West. Banner is seeking a visionary expert in Mortgage Loan Servicing with superior knowledge of the technical landscape and outstanding leadership experience. The role is relocation approved. To apply visit, Banner Careers. Resumes should be submitted there, but any questions should be directed to Ken Larsen, EVP & Mortgage Banking Director.

Canopy Mortgage is making waves nationally, with a rapid influx of high-performing loan officers, averaging one every other day. What's the draw? It's their streamlined corporate structure, integrated proprietary technology, unique profit and loss model, and empowering ethos highlighted by Forbes. This growth is fueled by strong relationships and referrals, establishing Canopy as a leader in mortgage lending innovation. Haven't heard of Canopy yet? Ask around or reach out to Josh Neumarker at 888-696-9076 for a Tech Demo or consultation.

NAN (Nationwide Appraisal Network) is pleased to announce the appointment of William "Bill" Waltenbaugh, SRA, AI-RRS, as its new Chief Appraiser. With a distinguished career spanning over three decades in the property valuation industry, Bill brings a wealth of expertise and leadership to his new role. Bill is eager to collaborate with the NAN team and like-minded professionals to drive innovation and elevate industry standards. His leadership will be invaluable as NAN continues to enhance their services and drive growth. Bill will leverage his extensive experience and deep industry knowledge to advance NAN's commitment to technology, communication, and accountability. He is deeply passionate about the evolution of the valuation industry, with a keen focus on product development and modernization. His appointment as Chief Appraiser underscores NAN’s commitment to excellence and innovation in the property valuation industry. NAN looks forward to continued success and growth under his leadership.