One of the most important things you can do for your underwriters
is to create great files. Complete loan applications, documentation
and a clean file with no unanswered questions and that will help your
loans sail through underwriting.
Make sure to have a detailed information sheet about the file as well,
so the underwriter gets a clear picture of what the file is about and
how you have calculated income, bills and contract or appraisal items.
This will make your underwriter partners happy to get your files. Once
underwriters know that your style is to provide clean files, they may
start grabbing your files first when they come in and get them done
quickly, because they know your files will be winners, and they can
move on to the next file quickly.
To produce clean files, you must understand your products and
their parameters. There is nothing worse than originators who don’t
do their homework, don’t know their programs and waste everyone
else’s time by throwing pasta against the wall to see if it sticks.
You will anger your underwriters faster than anything by not knowing what you are doing. It’s your job to sit down and learn every
aspect of your products and programs so when you submit a file you
are confident you chose the right program for the buyer and will get
an approval because you have taken into account all the parameters
of the program.
This knowledge will pay off for you in the field as well. Builders
and Realtors recognize when someone knows their products — and
when someone doesn’t.
Be a partner
You want your underwriters to know they can count on you — that
you are a true partner in the relationship. To do that, you must ensure
that you don’t drop the ball and let them down. Let your underwriters know they can count on your word and your promise. If they do a
favor for you and say, “get this to me by this date,” make sure you get it
by that date. No exceptions. Never break your word.
It’s also important that underwriters know you have their back.
Don’t ever talk about them negatively to a client — don’t blame them.
Don’t do anything but talk about your great team and the amazing
underwriters you have. Also, include your underwriters in your team
flyers and in team introductions to new clients. Many times, your
underwriters have years of expertise they can lend to your brand
and your skill sets.
Avoid being a firefighter as well. It’s OK to have a rush every now
and then — and then ask for forgiveness. Everyone understands the
mortgage business is made up of that on occasion. But don’t be the
firefighter who always has a rush, always has a problem and always
has a story about why the underwriter has to get it done right now.
Most underwriters will be forgiving on occasion. Abuse that forgiveness, however, and you will ruin your reputation and trust with
them. Plan your files. Have a great status report so you know where
each file is and give ample time for each stage along the way to the
finish line — closing on time.
Finally, buy lunch every now and then, especially during busy times.
Whenever you’re buying lunch for your operations team, be sure to
include your underwriters. They can feel secluded when working on
files all day, many times on communication blackout. Being included in
end-of-month lunches is a nice gesture for a job well done.
n n n
This process of team building takes time, but what you will find when
you apply these tips and become a “reward” and not a “risk” to your
under writers, is that you will become a better originator. Having a solid
underwriter relationship is just one of the essentials for large volume
production, and one of the most important things you can do to build
If you practice these tips, you will build better internal relationships, which makes for better external relationships. Happy selling! n
Shirleen Von Hoffmann is a principal of Home Builders Edge. She is a nationally known builder consultant and expert, speaker, broker, author and certified sales coach. Von Hoffmann has been a high-volume, top-producing
originator and manager for 35 years and has a master’s degree in residential marketing. She
also holds certified marketing professional and certified sales professional designations. Reach
her at (916) 204-4643, (866) 600-EDGE (3343) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Don’t be the firefighter who…
always has a problem and always has
a story about why the underwriter has
to get it done right now.”
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