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Aug 27, 2008

Do real estate agents really need brokers?Jeff Barrloan-to-value, tips, marketing, business relationships The agent walked into the restaurant. She was confident and knowledgeable. The youthful-looking broker sat down, prepared to tell me about the last 30 years in the real estate business. Jan has seen double-digit rates, booms, busts, interest-only loans and deals that went sour in minutes. She has seen divorces, first-time buyers, last-time buyers, 100 percent loan-to-value (LTV) and strictly cash deals. This agent has seen arguments, reconciliation, love stories and fisticuffs. Jan Scholtz is my friend and a real estate broker in Louisville, Ky. She deals with all clientele, from rich to poor. She has no national real estate affiliation, just her good name. Currently, she has built her shop to over 30 affiliate agents during the last several years in the business. Her operation is one of the best in the country. We sat down near the art district to talk about how and what real estate brokers look for in a loan officer. Here are some ideas regarding marketing and dealing with real estate professionals: Accessibility Jan and other agents want to be able to reach their lenders. A quick phone call back will do it. This includes nights and weekends. She wants to know she can contact her loan officer at all times. Creativity No two houses are the same. Similarly, no loan is exactly alike another. Does the borrower need seller concessions or 100 percent LTV? Would interest-only lower the ratios to make the deal work? Jan wants guidance on presenting the best program to her client. Honesty and integrity Her clients are an extension of her. Telling the customer you will do something and then delivering it is paramount. She is not out to steal the loan executive's commission. Flexibility Also critical is having the ability to work with other agents (a buyer or seller) on the transaction, as well as finding a broker who is professional and able to articulate with both parties. Understanding This means truly understanding what agents must go through to obtain listings, such as the advertising dollars they spend, the weekends they give up, the mileage that does not get reimbursed and the many final walkthroughs that uncover the smallest things in the last moments. After all, their commissions are riding on the loans as well as the appraisals and title work. Product knowledge In addition to being creative, being educated about the latest guideline changes is crucial for gaining the confidence and business of agents. Approval letters All agents want to make sure their clients can afford their loans. A general letter in each case is all that is needed. Open houses An agent may request a loan officer work on weekends. Having the interest and desire to work on weekends will please many agents. Hand holding It is critical when certain borrowers need a loan officer to lead them by the hand. Yes, buyers do get cold feet. Agent seminars I have had the opportunity to train some of Jan's newest agents. This gives me a chance to use my product knowledge, as well as to develop a rapport with new agents as they prosper. Networking Agents want new business as much as loan officers. Developing ways through chamber trade shows, community involvement or just plain cold calling helps to build long-sought relationships. It took me time to build a rapport with Jan Scholtz Realtors. Visibility Brokers and agents want to keep your name in front of them. They just do not want your rate sheets. Delivering rate sheets and doughnuts are passé and unhealthy. Thanks Agents like to hear thanks, just like loan officers. Drop them a card and give them a call. As the economy tightens, the role of the broker will become more prevalent. Tough deals and poor credit that banks do not want will open more doors. Agents, like Jan Scholtz, appreciate business and like to build more reciprocal relationships. Please remember to stay focused and professional. Agents really do need brokers. Jeff Barr is a competent toastmaster and speaker in Louisville, Ky., an adjunct professor of communications at the University of Louisville and a mortgage loan officer. He can be reached at (502) 777-9555 or via e-mail at [email protected].
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Aug 27, 2008
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