Editor’s note: Guest post provided by real estate leader Bill Gassett
Loan officers and real estate agents are key players in the home-buying process. In order to understand how a loan officer can work better with real estate agents we reached out to Bill Gassett, one of the top real estate agents in Westborough, MA. Bill has been selling real estate for almost thirty years so we knew he would be a good voice of reason. Take a look as he shares his best tips with us!
Loan Officers: 4 Ways to Improve Your Interactions with Real Estate Agents
Real estate agents may from time to time get a cash buyer, but in most instances buyers are taking out loans. This requires a loan officer’s help. And just as real estate agents need loan officers to sell homes, loan officers need homebuyers to stay in business. Long-term relationships with and referrals from real estate agents help loan officers keep volume up, which means it is important for loan officers to know how to cultivate these relationships.
Forming strong business relationships takes time and effort on your part, but these relationships can make a world of difference in your performance and success. Here are 4 tips to help you build a foundation and improve your interactions with real estate agents, as well as help you stand out from the competition.
1. Realize you are on the same team.
Just as it is in any profession, there are real estate agents out there who can be a real pain to work with. They can be overzealous in their approach, and maybe even pushy in their demands on behalf of their clients. You may even run into a few who are just plain unpleasant. But all difficulties aside, ultimately you and the real estate agents you work with are on the same team. There may be some team members you don’t like working with, and maybe some who you even need to kick off the team, but there will also be many who make it easier for you to win.
One of the ways a loan officer can work better with real estate agents is to approach them like you are both on the same team. You may be surprised at how many are eager to work with you! Real estate agents ultimately want to make their clients happy, and they will gladly push business your way if they know that you are there to help them do that.
2. Be accountable.
Your work as a loan officer can be complicated and unpredictable. You may not always be able to do what you want to do for the people you are serving, no matter how much you like them or how motivated you are to foster your relationships with them. However, any good real estate agent will understand that you have limitations. As long as you are honest about what is going on, and are accountable for your part in it, you can still develop strong business relationships even when things do not go according to plan.
Accountability is a must if you want to attract the best real estate agents — the kind who can make a huge difference in your loan volume. Real estate is a business filled with uncertainties, just like lending. Often what you expect to happen does not happen, forcing you to scramble to find new solutions if you want to accomplish your goals. Any chance to reduce uncertainty is beneficial to the agents you work with. By being accountable and dependable a loan officer can work better with real estate agents.
From your first interaction with a real estate agent, be clear about what you can or cannot accomplish. Set realistic expectations for everyone you are working with. You may work hard to get a certain result, but be unsuccessful. Whatever the outcome, remain clear with the real estate agent about what is going on and what you have control over. Any agent worth doing business with will appreciate your honesty and accountability, and will want to work with you in the future because of these qualities.
Above all else, do not provide real estate agents unrealistic expectations of your ability to get a loan approved. If it is going to be a very challenging loan, make this clear up front. The last thing any real estate agent wants is a pre-approval letter from you that means nothing. You will quickly be eliminated from a real estate agent’s referral source if you don’t live up to the expectations you have set. A professional real estate agent loves it when you go the extra mile to explain things to buyers, like what not to do so loans aren’t rejected after pre-approval. There isn’t a real estate agent in the world — or a buyer, for that matter — who wants an unpleasant surprise right before a closing.
3. Establish a system for communication.
Communication is just as important as accountability. Real estate agents and their clients eagerly anticipate news from you, and the longer you go without communicating, the harder the situation becomes for the agent. Your work as a loan officer is fairly mysterious to the borrower, and that makes it easier for you to deflect questions from potentially frustrated buyers who are wondering what is going on with their loans. But the real estate agent is often directly in the line of fire when things take too long, or go badly, during the loan process.
It is an unfortunate reality that many loan officers avoid such communication, either because there are no changes to report, or because there is bad news that they would rather not deliver. When the loan officer falls short in communication, the real estate agent is left to pick up the slack. One of the ways a loan officer can work better with real estate agents is to provide relief to the agents you are working with by keeping up regular communication. Just checking in once a week by email with an update on loan status can be helpful. Calling once a week is even better!
If you have a system in place for communicating with real estate agents, and you make this system known to the agents you work with (and follow through with what you say), you will stand miles above the majority of loan officers. When you stand out, referrals come to you, and with those referrals an increase in your loan volume. If you run into problems with a particular loan and know the mortgage is going to be rejected, make sure you have some alternatives you can discuss with both the agent and borrower. This shows the agent that you are not just concerned about your own pocketbook, and that you still want to help get to the final goal.
4. Use social media to help each other.
One of the best things both real estate agents and loan officers can do to communicate more effectively and grow their brands is to have a presence on social media. Today hundreds of thousands of people are using social media to stay in contact with others in their industry. Social media is a great place to grow and nurture relationships with others in your field.
Real estate agents and loan officers who engage with each other on social media create opportunities for both parties to be more successful, for example, by mutually sharing content that is beneficial to one another. Let’s say you are a mortgage broker and have just discovered this compelling article on 3 ways to avoid mortgage insurance (and what it will cost you). Some of the real estate agents you work with on a regular basis, who you are also connected with on social media, can share the link in their own social channels. You of course would return the favor when they write something of their own. This is very powerful and a win-win for both parties. The more you can help each other out using social media, the greater chance you both have of seeing business grow.
Improve Your Loan Volume Through Quality Relationships
In lending, just as it is in real estate, it is important to treat people as well as you can. Do what you say you are going to do. Avoid promising what you can’t deliver. Maintain communication. Be as helpful as you can. These qualities, like the tips above, will make you a trusted lender in the eyes of the best real estate agents in your area — which will only help increase your loan volume over time! These are the best four ways a loan officer can work better with real estate agents!
Over to you – What are some tips you have found successful when working with real estate professionals or loan officers? Share with me in the comments!