I’ve been asked many times by loan officers just how to develop Federal Housing Administration (FHA) business. My patent response is “You have to brand yourself as an FHA specialist, get out there and give FHA presentations to your FHA referral sources and then follow up.” If you are proficient in the basic FHA guides and want the FHA business, you need to make yourself the resource for FHA information. Remember, one of the biggest burdens a real estate broker has is providing useful and effective training to their agents. The FHA guides are so vast and changing so often, even we as loan officers have a hard time keeping up. What do you think that means for the real estate community? In the last five years alone, there have been more than 1,000 changes to FHA loan programs! Keeping up with FHA is hardly the priority of a real estate agent! And yet, the more knowledge they have, the more it helps their business. That’s where you, the FHA information source, come in.
Real estate agents need some catching up on FHA, and they need you to help them. Unfortunately, many loan officers feel they lack the requisite FHA knowledge to go out there and do FHA presentations. I have to tell you that if you know the basics, then you start presenting the basics. Agents don’t need to become FHA underwriters, they just need the FHA information that can help them add to the value they can give their clients. As you learn more guides, go out and present them to your agents. Over time, you will become an expert and serve as a valuable resource to as many agents as you can effectively manage in your database.
The crucial factor in being successful in growing your business through presentations is the paradigm you establish. The paradigm I’m referring to is the pattern of steps you take after you walk out of an office following your FHA presentation. This is where many loan officers drop the ball: By failing to implement a post-presentation system (PPS). But this is where your referral base, and income stream, is at.
Now, unfortunately I speak from personal experience when I say that many loan officers get into an office, establish great rapport with the agents, and give a great presentation. They feel great and on top of the world, but then fail to follow up effectively because other things came up. Whether it’s a bunch of refinances or other referrals or any other legitimate distractions, the bottom line is that if you allow other things to distract you from following up, then the seeds you planted at the presentation—along with those important relationships (and future referral business)—will not bear fruit.
I would like to offer you a Five Step Paradigm you can follow to help you develop FHA business through presentations:
1. Establish a series of three 15 min. FHA presentations you can offer to real estate offices.
Here are some presentation ideas: “The Three Things All Realtors Must Know About FHA Buyers,” “How to Avoid the Top Three Mistakes Realtors Make When Writing Purchase Agreements” and “How to Sell Three More Homes in the Next Three Months.” In each presentation, include the guides you feel will benefit your agents.
2. Start with five real estate offices in areas that will bring you the ideal buyers you seek
I got my start in FHA in inner city Detroit in the mid-1990s when the auto companies were doing well and buyers could easily qualify. I had to cultivate 10 leads to close one loan. After time, that ratio changed to 30 leads per one loan closed. I had to find business elsewhere to bring that ratio down. If you’re not sure who your ideal buyer is, you need to make that determination before you start your campaign. Call each office, ask to speak to the manager, and then talk about your FHA presentations. Sound excited when you speak about them! Focus on the benefits the agents will receive. You should be able to schedule at least two presentations.
3. The big day!
Your focus should be on establishing rapport with the agents and walking away with a list of the names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of agents. You can do this by collecting their business cards for a small raffle item, or by passing around an attendance form. Let them know you will use their information to keep in touch and provide important FHA updates. Before ending your presentation, let them know about the next presentation by telling them the title and what they will learn.
4. The follow-up
Make a follow-up phone call to each agent that attended, and schedule an appointment to meet with them one-on-one. The purpose of this meeting is to establish a more personal relationship and learn more about them and what their business goals are. Building trust with them is paramount to them feeling confident in referring their clients to you.
5. Follow through on your word, and provide your new database with FHA tips and updates to keep them informed
Continue to make appointments with the contacts you really feel you can grow with and make scheduled calls to keep your name on the top of their minds.
Follow this Five Step Paradigm and you will have a fresh new group of real estate agents to work with. Sometimes we get stagnant in our relationships and we need new ones to provide excitement, new ideas and enthusiasm. If you need assistance with your FHA marketing and need to access some tools that can help you develop more FHA business, you can subscribe to my newsletter, “The FHA Originator” at www.MortgageSeminars.com.
Jeff Mifsud founded Southfield, Mich.-based Mortgage Seminars LLC in 2004, has been an FHA originator for 12 years, is a contributor to LoanToolbox.com and is a former FHA underwriter. Jeff may be reached at (877) 342-9100.