Forming partnerships in the business world is vitally important for almost any type of business. When it comes to real estate and mortgage companies, the relationship between the two is not only helpful but rewarding. 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.
- Realize you are on the same team.
Just as it is in any profession, not everything is sunshine and rainbows. You’ll disagree with others and butt heads, but that happens and it’s okay. However, ultimately you and the real estate agents you work with are on the same team. While you two are in different fields of the real estate world, you go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. It’s important to remember that each house an agent sells can bring you a loan, and every pre-approval you do can bring an agent a buyer.
- Be accountable.
Your work as a loan officer will 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.
- 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. Many people won’t completely understand what your job requires every day as a loan officer, so it’s important to keep the buyer and agent updated.
If you leave the buyer hanging for too long with no update, they’ll take the frustrations out on their agent, possibly ruining the partnership you have with that agent. 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.
- Use social media to help each other.
More and more people are finding businesses they trust through social media. 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. 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. The more you can help each other out using social media, the greater chance you both have of seeing business grow.
In lending, just as it is in real estate, it is important to treat people the best 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!