If anyone understands real estate agents, it’s Homelight; Homelight’s software helps homebuyers find the right real estate agent to meet their needs. We wanted to know more about what real estate agents look for in a lender, so we brought in Homelight’s Lauren Stevens to dish about the top mistakes loan officers make with real estate agents than can hurt their working relationship:
“Loan officers can be a real estate agent’s best friend or a thorn in their side — it all depends on how they manage the relationship. Avoid severing potentially fruitful agent relationships by avoiding some of the biggest mistakes. Here are the top mistakes loan officers make with real estate agents that can drive them away and potentially sully burgeoning business relationships.
1.) Being ‘old school’ in your approach
While long lunches, cocktails, and coffee meetings were long the backbone of networking and deal-making, this isn’t necessarily the case today. Real estate agents — the successful agents you want to partner with — are constantly on the move. Skip the long lunches and begin your partnership by showing agents that you respect their time.
2.) Not answering your phone
You are the gatekeeper of home loans and agents rely on you to get their clients financing for home purchases through them. Odds are that the agent who just got your voicemail is quickly moving down a list of loan officers they keep on proverbial speed dial.
That missed call just cost you thousands in commission and could potentially cost you thousands more if you continue to let the call go to voicemail. I know you’re busy, but the reality is that when you don’t answer a real estate agent’s calls, they just stop calling. Time is money, after all, and the next loan officer on their list is more than happy to help them out.
Consider working with a large agency to create “office hours” on-site, where you’ll be on-hand to field agent questions a day or two a week. Not only will this provide an opportunity to forge relationships with the agents in-house, but you’ll also have established a semblance of trust, and possibly become the loan officer on the top of their call list. Who knows, you may just be there when a prospective buyer wanders into the office asking about affording a home.
3.) Relying on agents to grow your business
If you’re relying on agents to grow your business, you need to rethink your strategy. You’ll drive agents away if you’re constantly pestering them for business and leads. Take control of your business and actively pursue leads on your own instead of waiting for agent calls. Build your business and those agent calls will become more frequent and help round out your monthly transactions. Just never rely on someone else to send business to you.
4.) Help agents stay on top of today’s rates
Help agents out by distributing rate sheets to keep them up to speed — and putting something of real value in their email inboxes — all while keeping your name in front of them. By providing the information agents need for their clients, you’re helping them out and you may just get a call in return.
5.) Telling agents how to do their jobs
This is an absolute head-slapper. While you may not consciously be overstepping, proceed with caution. No one wants to be told how to do their job, especially from someone outside their company, so refrain from doing it.
Yes, you handle double and triple the transactions that agent does in a year, but you don’t need to bring that to their attention. Instead of correcting what they’re doing wrong, or pointing out incorrect items, do it for them. Yep. Make things easy for your agents and they’ll keep using you time and again.
6.) Attending an open house
This one is huge. You wouldn’t show up at a wedding and steal the spotlight, would you? Crashing an open house is unacceptable, as is being too pushy badgering an agent for business when they’ve invited you to an open house of theirs.
If an agent has invited you to their open house, attend and politely ask if they would like you to remain to discuss any financing questions that arise. If not, make the requisite small talk and then take your leave. Monopolizing an agent’s time at an open house is a huge no-no — don’t do it. While it may seem like the perfect opportunity to network, realize that the agent may not be in a position to turn their attention toward building a relationship with you at the time. Say hello, thank them for the invite, and offer to follow-up later on in the week.
While your passion and energy are undoubtedly an asset in your career as a loan officer, don’t let it get in the way of common sense and courtesy. Temper your energy and consciously focus it in the right places. When you position yourself as an ally and a helpful expert — rather than a pushy salesperson — you’ll find yourself fielding more agent calls and helping them close more home sales.”
By Lauren Steven, Homelight. At Homelight, We empower people to make smarter decisions during one of life’s most important moments: buying or selling their home.