4 Qualities Real Estate Agents Seek in Their Go-to Lender

Technology is transforming the way loans are transacted, with changes only accelerating due to work-from-home practices and changing borrower demands. Yet, despite these trends, the mortgage industry is still rooted in connections and longstanding relationships.

As a mortgage lender, your reputation precedes you. The way you build that reputation may very well dictate your success. In today’s volatile market, a steady stream of referrals means the difference between maintaining a pipeline and scrounging for leads. And as we move towards market recovery, a robust book of business will serve as an invaluable tool to take full advantage of profitable opportunities.

Wondering how to wow agents in your market? Here are the most common qualities agents say they value in their lending partners.

1. Highly communicative

In a 2017 TD Bank survey about what real estate agents valued in a mortgage lender, nearly 80% of the agents reported that they value efficient communication and responsiveness over all other concerns.

As with any other relationship-in-the-making, communication is a huge factor that can make or break your reputation with an agent. Nothing else is as important as good communication in determining how a real estate agent feels about your relationship.

As one agent put it, “Real estate agents as a whole really don’t care about interest rates. They just want to make sure their customer is taken care of and that they have their closing date. They almost rely on the customers to do due diligence with the interest rates.”

A lack of communication is the quickest way to be written off by an agent. As Jo Soss of Bremerton, Washington explains: “Communication is key with me. Yes, closing on time is important but communication is my first request. I thought I found a good lender a couple of months ago, and after going through three deals with him, he will never get another referral from me because he could never answer his phone or reply to emails. He would call and never leave a message—which, of course, was a time waster.”

2. Accountable and transparent

Many agents have become a bit jaded because of lenders making empty promises. Agents become irritated when loan officers don’t follow through with their promises of referrals and new business—or, even worse, when LOs overpromise with the loan timeline and leave the agent to appease an upset borrower when the loan doesn’t close on time.

Agents want the lender to follow through on their promises and set realistic expectations, and to communicate honestly when plans change.

As Mindy Jensen, a real estate agent in Colorado, puts it, “Bad things happen—don’t hide them. My buyers just went out and bought a house full of furniture on credit before closing and threw their DTI out of whack. Now, they’re no longer able to qualify for the loan. That sucks, but it isn’t going to change. If you encounter a problem, let me know as soon as you discover it.”

3. Able to move quickly and proactively

One of the most stressful aspects of an agent’s job is to quickly get the buyer pre-qualified, pre-approved, and funded to close on a house. Today, speed can mean the difference between making the sale and missing out on an offer to a faster buyer.

One agent we talked to from Denver, Colorado told us that a loan officer’s failure to jump to action when he needed a quick pre-qual was enough to discourage him from working with that LO ever again. In competitive markets like Denver, a failure to pick up the phone or answer an email can mean your ultimate failure with an agent because without a quick pre-qual, the buyer’s dream home is just that—a dream.

4. Focused on delighting the borrower

The world today is increasingly becoming an experience economy, with millennial homebuyers in particular valuing a transparent lending process where they feel informed of the options and expectations. The over 4 million millennials who reached peak home-buying age in 2021 present a massive opportunity for agents and lenders to win business by offering a smooth, best-in-class borrower experience.

From an agent’s perspective, partnering with a stellar loan officer is a surefire way to look good to the borrower. As one executive said, “Hands down, the most important key to getting referrals is to provide a great experience. Partnering with a great lender is probably the most important way to ensure a consistent, lights-out experience for the homebuyer.”

Looking to boost your lending experience in concrete ways your borrowers will notice? Maxwell Point of Sale facilitates loans that close 13+ days faster and a streamlined, intuitive process that exceeds modern borrowers’ expectations.

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