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Study Finds Realtors Prefer Working With Mortgage Brokers
Apr 24, 2015

Inman has released the top-line findings from a new study entitled, “What Real Estate Brokers and Agents Want From Lenders,” that examines why real estate professionals choose to recommend a particular lender, what kinds of lenders they prefer and what behavior puts a lender in the penalty box. The study also explores the ineffectiveness of lender marketing, the chilling effect that RESPA is having on broker/lender relationships and their early opinions on big bank “listing” apps.

Commissioned by Inman, the survey was conducted by 1000watt, a real estate brand, marketing and strategy firm, in April. Respondents were mostly real estate agents (74 percent), but 26 percent of respondents identified as real estate brokers. More than half of respondents (60 percent) were independent and unaffiliated with a particular real estate franchise. The remaining 40 percent were affiliated with top firms. In addition to the survey, individual phone interviews were conducted with real estate brokerage executives running companies with more than 500 agents.

Some highlights include:

The Who’s and Why’s of Relationships
Nearly half of the Realtors surveyed said they prefer working with mortgage brokers over banks and non-banks.
Cultural fit and breadth of products are the number one and two reasons for selecting a mortgage partner.
Agents are mainly monogamous: 77 percent say they have one lender who they refer most often to clients.
Speed and responsiveness are the most important considerations to refer a lender.
Leads are not a two-way street: 79 percent aren’t getting leads from their lenders, but 74 percent would like them—from lenders they know and trust.

Lender Marketing: Does It Work or Not?
The largest percentage of respondents was unsure as to whether lender marketing was effective.
More than 35 percent felt marketing wasn’t effective in building relationships with agents; less than 30 percent felt it was.
Operations with in-house lenders believed that on-site presence was the most effective way to increase capture rates; followed by technology and training; less than 10 percent of respondents felt print or e-mail marketing was effective. 

Tying the Knot or Not?
Only 24 percen of brokers have Marketing Service Agreements (MSAs) with lenders.
Only two percent of brokers have Affiliated Business Arrangements (ABAs) with lenders.
►Forty-two percent are now reluctant to enter into MSAs and/or partnerships with lenders due to RESPA concerns.

The Impact of Internet and Mobile Apps
Increasingly, clients are doing their shopping for a lender on the Internet and don’t need a recommendation from their Realtor.
Big bank efforts to promote mobile apps, like Chase’s MyNewHome or Nationstar Mortgage’s get mixed reviews: 38 percent were very uncomfortable with them, while 30 percent were somewhat uncomfortable with these proprietary mobile apps.

“Real estate agents wield an enormous amount of influence in purchase transactions, and so they are a critically important audience and referral source to lenders,” said Brad Inman, publisher and owner of Inman. “But, as this research shows, there’s a wide gap between ‘wanting a relationship’ with agents and brokers and building a successful one. Hopefully, this study will help lenders ‘crack the code’ to develop more effective partnerships.”

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