If we've heard it once, we've heard it a hundred times: The refi business is drying up and purchase business is where we need to be focusing. That means now is the time to solidify relationships with real estate agents, as they are the first and best source of home buyer leads.
First: Ensure you thoroughly cover the basics
Realty companies hear from many of us in the mortgage business daily. And here's what they want to hear:
►That you can help 99.95 percent of their clients with the right home loan
►That you can close on-time
►That you keep the agent informed every step of the way, so the agent can be proactive if there's a glitch in the process
►That you can deliver excellent customer service, so that you don't leave a bad taste in their client's mouth that will reflect badly on them
If you cannot do these four things well, then they could care less about your free open house flyers or any other services you may offer.
One of our LOs blogged awhile back:
Over the course of my 23 years in the mortgage industry, I have learned what real estate professionals want and need from their mortgage counterparts. The way to a successful relationship with real estate agents can be summed up in one word: Communication. The number one complaint from real estate agents about LOs is that they don’t give updates or communicate the status of the loan application.
He went on to list seven ways to build strong real estate agent relationships:
1. Always give leads from real estate agents top priority: Speak to the consumer ASAP and then update the agent.
2. Always express gratitude for any leads you receive: Let them know how you appreciate them trusting you with their customer.
3. Realize that an agent will earn much more commission than the LO, which means there is a much greater impact on the agent’s lifestyle.
4. Always strive to expedite the loan process. The ability to close loans quickly and efficiently will greatly enhance the relationship, as this allows the agent to get paid more quickly.
5. Always ensure that the borrower is happy. The borrower will report back to their agent if they are happy or unhappy with the loan process and their loan originator.
6. Proactively update the agent regarding any status changes on a loan. Call the agent when the appraisal comes in or when the loan is approved. As soon as you can, let them know when and where the closing will take place.
7. Don’t delay giving out negative information: If a loan is not working, let the agent know. Sometimes they may have a solution that can turn a decline into an approval. Remember, they have much more to lose than an LO and will work to help make a loan work (if they can).
In Part II of this series, we'll talk more about building relationships with your real estate agents using touch points throughout your client's loan process.
Jean LeBlanc is director of marketing for Guaranteed Home Mortgage Company. For more marketing tips, download the eBook, 13 Ways to Juice Up Your Marketing in 2013, by going to joinghmc.com and clicking on the eBook offer midway down the page.
She may be reached by phone at (914) 696-3400.