Yanni Raz is CEO of HML Investments and has been a hard-money lender for more than 10 years. Raz was a real estate
broker for five years before he partnered with a group of
investors from California and began assisting real estate
investors in financing commercial and residential projects.
He writes about real estate financing for magazines, blogs
and other online news outlets. Reach Raz at
email@example.com or (818) 308-4443.
Go Beyond the Baseline
Low rates and good service are not enough to build your business
By Yanni Raz
What do borrowers look for when choosing a mortgage originator? They tend to look for someone who is credible, diligent, reliable and trustworthy. They want to work with an originator they feel
comfortable with, but that is just the baseline.
There is a process to the success of a mortgage originator that goes beyond the basics of good service and
extensive experience. To get more referrals, for example — which are the lifeblood of the business — originators should implement a system that begins by laying a
foundation and then adding value with each step.
Laying the foundation
Most borrowers are stressed when they contact a mortgage originator. They are buying a house, after all. You
can help to relieve some of that stress by taking borrowers step-by-step through the process of the loan.
As you walk them through the steps, be transparent
about the entire process. Integrity goes a long way in
this business, especially because these days many borrowers go into the process assuming their originator
plans to nickel-and-dime them. They don’t expect you
to invest your time and expertise in them.
To win the trust of new borrowers, you need to see
them as long-term clients because a mortgage is a long-term commitment. This helps build the foundation
of the partnership you hope to create with every client.
As you build that foundation, it is important to be a
problem solver, not a pushy salesperson. Buyers should
not feel as if they are being forced into anything. It is
your job to understand and recognize your clients’
goals, problems and needs, so you can help guide
them to the right decision, instead of selling them on a
solution that does not work for them.
In the end, choosing a loan product is their decision
and that decision should be based on facts. You will
need a firm understanding of your borrowers’ financial
situations, as well as their needs, fears and capacities
so you can provide the information they need to make
a good decision.
This process takes time and patience but, in the end,
your efforts will be rewarded. Showing genuine care
for your borrowers goes a long way. Good communication is your key to success.
Creating a plan
The best originators create a work plan and follow
it carefully. This plan can be changed and tweaked
along the way to fine-tune it. It also can be adjusted
according to what works and what does not. Thus, it
is important to measure the results against the plan.
Mistakes will happen, but the same mistake shouldn’t
be made more than once.
Once you have a plan that works for you, stick to it.
Consistency will be your greatest tool. You should have
a formal process in place that you can walk your clients
through so they have a good grasp of the situation,
which also will afford them some peace of mind. In addition, this planned-out process will keep you proactive
and display experience and professionalism to your
clients. Structure is key.
In addition to planning out your loan process, you
should have a plan for cultivating contacts. At the end
of the day, your success as an originator is not about
replying to e-mails quickly or always being available
for your clients. These aspects help, but the underlying
key to business success in the mortgage industry lies in
building a healthy set of professional contacts.
Your contacts should include a variety of different
professionals in the business, and it is important that
you consistently network and help to nurture the relationships that come from that networking, because
the majority of mortgage business comes from referrals and recommendations. Mortgage originators
cannot work in a vacuum. Invest in people and they
will invest in you. Make a list of professionals you want
to maintain contact with and reach out regularly. Your
persistence will pay off.
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In the end, referrals come from what you do beyond
the actual sale. When borrowers search for a mortgage
originator, they will look at rates and sector experience,
but what you can offer to potential clients goes
beyond that. Having good rates and great service is
just the foundation of your business.
What will set you apart from other originators with
the same rates and level of service will be your ability
to provide real value. Thinking outside the box and
offering unique solutions to your clients’ problems
will help you to stand out from the crowd. When it
comes to this business, an originator cannot simply do
the bare minimum to succeed. Success will only come
when you go the extra mile. n