Homebuyers engage the services of a mortgage broker or mortgage banker because they want to feel guided by an expert while purchasing their home. That human connection is going to become all the more vital as the mortgage process continues its journey toward digitalization. But if you are operating a conveyor belt approach to your business and ignoring your borrowers once they close, you are missing out on the opportunity to engage your best brand advocates.
Preparing them to be your biggest cheerleader starts at the moment you meet them. It’s obvious to say that you should be giving exceptional client care, but you need to check in with them during the process to make sure it’s all going smoothly. Once you have closed, prepare them for how appreciated their support moving forward will be to your mortgage business.
The following is the checklist that we use to produce loan love:
- Connect with your buyers on social media platforms.
- Give them a stellar experience.
- Check in with them during the mortgage loan process to see if everything is going well.
- Communicate with them using their preferred method – call, text, or email.
- Prepare them for anything negative while remaining positive.
- Close with no hassles.
- Get a testimonial video or written shoutout.
- Promote the closing with tagging on social media platforms.
- Give them the tools that they need to share their experience working with you.
- Send them excellent, timely information post-closing about how to unpack, ignore junk mail, add equity, and more.
Only THEN should you ask for referrals. Once plenty of time has passed, check in with them. Do a six-month gift. Continue to have a “real” social media relationship with them.
Everyone is searching for the silver bullet in mortgage marketing, but there are some very simple things you can implement today to make yourself stand out better from the crowd.
- Update your headshot. We know you love a classic, but if your picture is more than three years old, it’s time for a new professional headshot. No time? Stand outside in nice clothes and have a friend snap one with a phone.
- Update your signature. (Intent rants on this topic.) We get it. But really, stop with the signature madness. Keep it simple, clean, and make sure the links work.
- Update your graphics. Has it been a while since you changed the mortgage marketing graphics on your social media channels? A fresh look might be needed. Ask your company for social media graphics or create them on your own in Canva. Not an artist? Have someone make one for you on fiverr.
- Ask people to “add you” to their phone. Update your own phone profile with your mortgage company name or even change your name to be John Smith- mortgage to make finding you in the future easier.
- Reintroduce yourself in a clever video for social media. When is the last time you told people in your sphere what you do? Do a fun “getting to know me” video.
- Create a branded homebuyer’s guide. How do you do business? Show people what they can expect when they use you to buy a home, and what to expect from the mortgage process.
- Revamp your website. Perception is reality. If your website is old and doesn’t work, it conveys the message that you are as well. Engage a marketing mortgage marketing company (Hi!) to create something personal that will result in sales.
- Sign into your tech. When is the last time you went through all your tech accounts and signed in? What can you eliminate? What could you be using better?
- Commit to making a video each week. Even if it’s just about what you are seeing in the market, being comfortable in front of the camera will make a big difference.
- Create a YouTube channel. Start building your personal brand with the videos that you make. Share these on your mortgage marketing website and across your social media channels.
- Audit your social media accounts. Are you on Instagram? Twitter? YouTube? TikTok? LinkedIn? Are these updated? Did you brand them to your business? Are you putting out content?
- Ask your best agent to do a zoom video with you. Interview your best agent. Tell success and failure stories.
- Build a referral list. Homebuyers need everything when they move into a home and since you are a trusted resource, send them a list of everyone you trust from interior design to landscaping companies. This also helps forge partnerships with your vendors and hopefully leads to referrals from them to you.
- Have lead buying conversations. Been forking over money for leads for more than six months with one of your agents? Do some analytics and plan a meeting to review whether it is working. Come to the table with ideas and solutions.
- Host online seminars. Teach people about credit. Talk to renters about their financial future.
- Find new vendors for THANK YOU gifts. Chances are local artists and purveyors have new products. Ask people to vote for ideas or connect you with vendors on social media.
- Update your testimonials. With so many companies offering compliant testimonials, it’s time to move into the digital age. Sign up with a company that will collect and post these for you.
- Connect to new agents. Each week, you should make it your goal to talk to three new agents. Connect on social and start TALKING.
Don’t have the digital prowess to tackle some or all of your mortgage marketing needs? Our team at Intent can create, design, and even run each of these steps for you. Ask us how!
When it comes to building and supporting your team, there are a number of steps you can take to lead success-driven people towards achieving their goals. Make sure you have a defined team structure and strategy and go over these five key points to ensure your team’s capacity to deliver is being appropriately utilized.
What kind of team do you need?
- Do you need a production partner?
- Who processes your loans?
- What tasks are you looking to hand off?
- Are you ready to hire?
- Do you have training for them?
Organize the team you have
- Who is your second in charge?
- Does the whole team understand and adhere to the hierarchy?
- Have you discussed career goals with each teammate?
- Has being “able” trapped someone?
- Are you sharing an LOA with someone else? Is that working?
- Do you need an assistant versus an LOA?
Understand the File Flow
- Lead Intake
- Follow up
Operations versus Support Staff – Team Structure and Strategy
- Hire for the job you want someone to do.
- Do not turn your processor into your assistant.
- Find an assistant or business development person for growth or support of YOU.
Tools for Success
- Clear expectations set for role and good introduction to the team.
- Good training. Good benefits. Good leadership. Good attitude. Feel part of the success.
- Gratitude. Attitude. Time off. Overtime expectations. Financial.
- Phone Skills
- It’s important to remember that you are one part of a machine that includes all members of your team. Be sure to reward them in the best possible ways, including with team structure and strategy.
If you are looking to hire talent, there are a number of portals where you can post a listing in addition to your own website.
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 mortgage 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 the mortgage numbers with them 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 and their mortgage experience.
Get 5 Stars. Know when and where to ask them to leave mortgage reviews so that the next time someone is looking, they find you.
Some of the best loan officers in the mortgage 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 does customer journey look like beginning at 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.
Intent has 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.
Perception of value in mortgage marketing is a powerful thing. 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.
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 mortgage lending 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 residential mortgage lending 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 residential mortgage lending 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. The company’s flood resources are centered around delivering accurate and timely flood determinations, along with life-of-loan monitoring. On 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 residential 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.
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.
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.
Zillow is an online real estate marketplace company that was founded in 2006. The company serves the full lifecycle of owning and living in a home: buying, selling, renting, financing, remodeling and more. It starts with Zillow’s living database of more than 110 million U.S. homes – including homes for sale, homes for rent and homes not currently on the market, as well as Zestimate home values, Rent Zestimates and other home-related information.