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
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:
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
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
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.
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.
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.
In addition to being creative, being educated about the latest
guideline changes is crucial for gaining the confidence and
business of agents.
All agents want to make sure their clients can afford their loans.
A general letter in each case is all that is needed.
An agent may request a loan officer work on weekends. Having the
interest and desire to work on weekends will please many
It is critical when certain borrowers need a loan officer to lead
them by the hand. Yes, buyers do get cold feet.
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.
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.
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.
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]