Restaurants live or die by their reviews. Whether that’s a splashy spread in the newspaper, inviting influencers and bloggers to join them for a meal or simply through digital channels like Yelp and on Google. A bad review can stop a potential diner their quest for a great meal at a restaurant while a positive review can reassure their decision and often even provide advice about where to sit and what to order.
So too it is with the mortgage experience. While it is critically important to be found through reviews, the experience is the first piece to get right. Let’s use the restaurant set up as an analogy.
- People need to find you. Whether through recommendations from friends or family or through their agent, having good word-of-mouth advertising is going to be important.
- Reservations need to be easy. Applying for their loan should be simple and done right from their phone.
- Have the best host to greet them. They should never feel alone. Your marketing should greet them promptly and show them the exact steps needed.
- The server should be on point.The mortgage professional needs to be the guide to the whole experience. A server makes or breaks the entire thing. Walk them through the menu slowly and thoroughly. Make sure they know that you are going to focus on their needs and answer any questions that they have, even when there are other people waiting for your attention.
- Back of the house needs to know what the front of the house is doing.The kitchen needs to be ready for whatever comes their way. From special orders to dietary restrictions, making the perfect meal is critical. Your LOA and your ops team should work in harmony. Expectations of timelines should be met and introductions to the Chef should be made to ensure the best meal.
- The manager should stop by the table.Never, never take your eye off the ball. Even when your team is doing an exceptional job, be there to check in.
- Check in, check in, check in.Ask how everything is. Anticipate their needs before they ask. Give them space while making sure they are happy.
- Explain the check.Always review with them the numbers so they fully comprehend what the total is and have the opportunity to ask questions.
- THANK THEM.Over and over again. Make them feel that they are truly appreciated and that you were honored to be part of their lives.
- Get 5 Stars.Know when and where to ask them to leave reviews so that the next time someone is looking, they find you.
Some of the best loan officers in the industry started out as very savvy servers in their youth. The ability to manage multiple tables, many orders and chaos makes for an outstanding mortgage professional. Intent can help make your daily routine much easier with simplified strategies to grow your business.
What happens from the moment a person decides they want to buy a home? What are the buyer’s thoughts, fears and worries? Where do they turn for advice — friends, family members or online search? How can you be the trusted source of lending information and be in front of them at the right time with the right message?
All paid search and lead generation gurus want you to believe that they have the secret recipe for finding you leads, but anyone who has purchased leads knows the game only too well. The reality is that leads are expensive, not exclusive and require true relationship development.
Put yourself in the potential buyer’s shoes. The buyer simply fills out an application, provides their contact information and presses enter. Within minutes, their phone is ringing, their email is blowing up and texts are coming to their phone. How do they know which lender to choose among the many pitching their services? What makes your strategy different?
- Start with data. Know to whom you are marketing.
- Understand the buyer’s goals and speak to them about the possibilities of the home in their future.
- Create a vision that is realistic and create a true partnership with them as their lender.
- Warn the buyer that many others will try to contact them. Possible suitors include everyone from those who will still be looking at them as a lead, to those who will buy their data once their credit is pulled. Give your prospective buyer the chance to opt out of that contact cycle.
- Be true to the plan and start educating a buyer on everything they will experience in searching for a home, buying a home and becoming homeowners.
- Let them have the easiest path possible when applying for the loan and giving you documents.
- Work in tandem with your buyer’s real estate agent to prepare your buyer for everything they will need to do for the move.
- Let the buyer feel as though they are guided but in control.
- Solicit their feedback after closing, with the goal of building your reviews.
- Continue to pour into that relationship with good information after the move.
We have pioneered successful mortgage companies along this customer journey for years, and we know what it takes to make homebuyers feel respected, heard and understood. Intent will make your customers feel like you are the best communicator in the mortgage industry.
After watching the Quicken Loans Super Bowl ad featuring actor/model Jason Momoa, viewers quickly flooded newsfeeds with memes noting that what you see isn’t always what you get.
In the mortgage world, Quicken Loans has a lot of clout and name recognition and certainly has done a considerably good job of convincing people that a home loan can be as quick and painless as pushing a button and receiving a “rocket mortgage.” Industry professionals know that concept is far from reality, however.
But while mortgage brokers and bankers alike may turn their noses up at the idea of a “rocket mortgage,” the perceived value in the messaging is undeniable. People are intimidated by the loan process and the organization and paperwork involved, and buyers often feel overwhelmed because they don’t understand all that is truly required.
Quicken’s pitch is that the homebuying process will be easy, and whether or not that’s actually true, the perception through advertising is that it is. So, while memes are fun to share and use to invoke laughter, the real question for mortgage professionals should be: “What can I do to convey the value of working with us, and how do I get that message out?”
Answering that question will likely make you really examine how much your marketing and advertising dollars are helping you locate quality leads and nurture those leads into loans. If your marketing and software aren’t doing this, it’s time to find value in a company that does.
An independent provider of valuation and closing services supporting the residential real estate mortgage industry, Solidifi oversees a technology-based marketplace where independent field professionals consistently elevate their performance and deliver better results while competing for business. Having partnered with tens of thousands of qualified independent field professionals, Solidifi bills itself as the preferred mortgage service provider for more than 60 of the top 100 lenders in 2019.
From the corporate headquarters in Buffalo, New York along with offices in Denver, Colorado, Middletown, Rhode Island and Greenwood Village, Colorado, the people of Solidifi work together to optimize technology that will boost productivity both internally and for all clients. Consisting of mortgage industry specialists and technology innovators, Solifi has invested millions of dollars in its flagship product — a SaaS-based platform supported by a team of technology professionals.
Solidifi’s overall product offerings can be broken down into four categories: valuation services, flood services, title services, and closing & escrow services. Solidifi’s valuation services include but are not limited to traditional appraisal products, inspection solutions, broker price opinions and home equity solutions.\n\nThe company’s flood resources are centered around delivering accurate and timely flood determinations, along with life-of-loan monitoring.\n\nOn the title services side, Solidifi offers highly efficient solutions for nationwide title insurance. More specifically, the company provides title and closing services for refinance, purchase, commercial, short sale and REO transactions. Meanwhile, Soldifi’s closing & escrow services are centered around an expedited process aimed at increasing performance for the company’s clients and handling all aspects of the closing and escrow transaction on time, with ease. The end result is swift turn times, extraordinary due diligence reviews, and accurate execution and disbursements of documents.
Solidifi’s parent company, Real Matters, was established in 2004 and has since morphed into one of North America’s fastest growing, innovative technology companies. Real Matters combines proprietary technology and network management tools with thousands of independent qualified field professionals to form a marketplace for mortgage lending and insurance industry services. These field professionals, such as residential real estate appraisers, compete to deliver performance-driven services. To learn more about Solidifi, click here.
Easily and perhaps often misunderstood, mortgage insurance is just another layer of security to shield lenders against a loss and is generally only required if a borrower puts down less than 20% on a property. If you are a mortgage servicer filing for insurance claims, navigating insurance policies can be overwhelming and time-consuming, especially if you want to get every dollar possible through the claims process.
When considering the potential pitfalls that can lead to the curtailment or even denial of coverage, your best bet sometimes is to entrust the task to a hazard claims provider who can help you recover as much as possible. Rutledge Claims Management specializes in filing and adjusting hazard claims, including mortgage insurance claims. Formerly known as The Law Offices of Thomas W. Rutledge, APC, the Poway, California-based company rebranded in 2017 as RCM and reorganized as a licensed public adjuster firm. The business says it has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for its clients over the past two decades.
RCM offers claims management, dispute resolution, negotiations, regulatory compliance and litigation monitoring. Other services include mortgage insurance claim appeals; integration of hazard claims workflow and the repair process to accelerate claim recoveries; tracking claim milestones and daily data feed to clients through proprietary claims tracking software; and customized reporting to clients on over 700 fields of data.
RCM takes pride in its legal background and experience in monitoring timelines and tracking statutes of limitations — all in an effort to ensure a fast and effective claims resolution. Click here to learn more.
*Intent does not endorse or recommend any particular products or services. The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only.
Tim Chew, affectionately known around the office as “Chewy,” is the Chief Technology Officer at Intent Homebuying Marketing Intelligence. Tim spends his days immersed in the technology side of the company, building systems and guiding our team. Learn a little bit about Tim today!
Start Date: 2/25/19
Brief overview of what you do: All things technology and the occasional handyman task
What brought you to Intent: The Millennium Falcon
What do you like most about working at Intent: The energy
Hobbies: Gardening and building things
Book you’ve read over and over again: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Top 3 movies: Hero (2002), About a Boy, We’re the Millers
A bit about your family: 4 children
Favorite food: Sweets
Thing you’re scared of: My children
Dream vacation: Dogsledding and kayaking in Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland
Favorite cocktail: Flavored Vodka Tonic
When you apply for a mortgage loan, a lender will typically run a credit report in short order. From the credit report, the lender will most likely look to your FICO® score. FICO® is a scoring system used by the three major credit bureaus to determine your eligibility for the loan you are seeking. For decades, credit scores have been largely based on a person’s past dealings with banks and other financial institutions.
However, if you have never taken out a loan or owned a credit card, or you are just starting to build your credit, lack of credit may also affect your ability to be approved for a loan. With the aforementioned considerations in mind, FICO® recently debuted a new opt-in scoring system known as the “UltraFICO™ Score.” By linking their checking account, savings account or money market accounts with FICO®, users have the opportunity to build credit based on the data they share. When determining whether an applicant poses a credit risk, lenders now have the opportunity to consider — along with more traditional categories — evidence from savings, account balances, bank account history and any other transactions.
UltraFICO™ Score is especially helpful for both younger consumers with little credit history and those who’ve previously dealt with low credit scores. If you already have good credit and a well-established credit history, it is unlikely you will see a significant boost from an UltraFICO™ Score. According to FICO®, seven out of 10 consumers with average savings of $400 and without negative balances in the past three months see an increase in their FICO® Score with the new system.
The announcement of broader scoring modalities comes on the heels of a comprehensive effort to expand access to credit. Late last year, Experian rolled out Experian Boost, a new tool that enables consumers to incorporate utility and cell phone payments into their credit history and potentially increase their FICO® Score instantly. To learn more how you can benefit from these latest credit models, click here and here.
Kaitlyn Lee is a part of the onboarding and support team at Intent Homebuying Marketing Intelligence. After earning a degree in Communications – Public Relations from East Carolina University, Kaitlyn knew she wanted to work in an industry that helps make people happy.
Kaitlyn loves coming to work each day because of the amazing environment and her wonderful colleagues who work together as a team to make mortgage lenders successful. Learn a little more about Kaitlyn today!
Start Date: October 2017
Position: Client Liaison SpecialistBrief overview of what you do: I am the first person to enter our clients in the system and create their account. I review everything before their account is activated and make sure their website is ready to go. I get an overview of all tickets in triage and make sure our clients are taken care of, whether they have a website request, a problem within the system, or they need directions on how to navigate the system.
What brought you to Intent: My sister met our founder, Kelly Yale, at a Fairway event and told her I’d be perfect for the job. I went in for my interview and never wanted to leave!
What you like most about working at Intent: I love the work environment. Everyone is so chill and works together as a team to get things done.
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Hobbies: Working out (Cycle, Zumba, Turbo Kick), hanging out with friends and family, and enjoying lake days on Lake Norman and nights out in the “Queen City” of Charlotte
Book you’ve read over and over again: Fifty Shades of Grey
Top 3 movies: Titanic, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Southpaw
A bit about your family: My mom and dad divorced when I was five years old, so I now have a huge family and love it! I have one real sister, two stepbrothers and two half-sisters. I mainly grew up living with my mom and stepdad, so my mom and I are super-close. Thankfully, they all live in the Charlotte area.
Favorite food: Fettuccine Alfredo on Penne noodles
Thing you’re scared of: Spiders, people who drink and drive, not being the best version of myself
Worst habit: Popping my ears and twitching my neck … lol
Dream vacation: Fiji
Favorite cocktail: Tito’s, club soda and lime
Rising home values can make it difficult for first-time homebuyers to break into a competitive housing market where monthly mortgage payments are higher than rent. Zillow has created a list of the top housing markets for first-time buyers, based on six metrics: population growth, low median home value, forecasted home appreciation, high inventory-to-household ratio, breakeven horizon and share of listings with a price cut. Here are the markets that made Zillow’s list:
- Tampa, FL
- Las Vegas, NV
- Phoenix, AZ
- Atlanta, GA
- Orlando, FL
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Detroit, MI
- Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
- Nashville, TN
- Charlotte, NC
- Houston, TX
- Philadelphia, PA
The year 2018 produced the most first-time homebuyers since 2006, with 43% of buyers making their purchase in the suburbs. Meanwhile, 40% of first-time homebuyers chose an urban setting, and the remaining 17% picked a rural location. This is further explained in the Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report from the National Association of Realtors. The report reveals that convenience to a job, quality of school districts, affordability, and distance to schools were among the most important factors for buyers. Click here to read
As one-stop shops for home buying and selling go, it’s hard to find one better equipped than Owners.com — a tech-enabled real estate brokerage that handles all key aspects of the home buying and selling process.\n\nIn business since 1996, Owners.com offers superior experience and savings through appropriately sized commission structures, smart digital tools and personalized service from local real estate agents. Collectively, these elements can save buyers thousands of dollars when it comes time to close on their home.
After starting out as an online directory of for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) property listings, Owners.com expanded its horizons in 2001 by giving FSBO sellers the opportunity to add listings to their local multiple listing service (MLS) for a fixed fee. By 2014, Owners.com had reached an even broader audience thanks to expanded seller choices, local agent support, increased exposure and commission savings. As of 2019, Owners.com had helped sell over 160,000 residential properties since 2009.
The success of Owners.com isn’t surprising, given the benefits that the Atlanta, Georgia-based company offers potential homebuyers. Consider, for example, that traditional real estate brokerages charge up to six percent to sell your home, and this commission is usually split between the listing broker and the buyer’s broker. If your home’s sale price is $200,000, you could be paying commissions up to $12,000, with $6,000 going to the listing broker and $6,000 to the buyer’s broker.
Owners.com is different because it offers numerous listing packages to fit a buyer’s specific needs and save a buyer on commissions. Sellers, meanwhile, should consider Owners.com for the simple fact that properties marketed on the company’s website are exposed to thousands of registered users. Additionally, if you purchase the Owners.com Flat Fee MLS, MLS Premium or 2% Full-Service Agent Listing Package, your home will be listed in your local MLS and the listings will be distributed on national real estate sites such as Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia and Homes.com.
Recognized for its innovative approach to real estate, Owners.com has earned awards from numerous technology, financial and real estate leaders, including Forbes, PC Magazine, Fast Company and HousingWire. Call 866.874.8374 or visit the Owners.com resources page to learn more.