Written By: Gail Foster, Op-Ed Writer
I get emails, phone calls and visits from loan officers on a regular basis, all wanting me to refer my buyers to them for financing. I have coffee cups, paper pads, pens, post-its, calculators, key chains, calendars and business cards galore, all from loan officers wanting me to send business their way. They talk a good game, been in the business since it started, have an excellent track record (or so they say) and can close any deal within thirty days or less. They come in their suits, armed with goodies and piles of business cards. Wow, I’m going to send my very next deal to them, right? Wrong!
The keys to building a business relationship with a realtor are not in pads of paper, pens and coffee cups. First and foremost send a buyer!! No Realtor in this market is going to turn down working with a qualified buyer, no matter who the lender or loan officer is. Doing a deal gives the Realtor a chance to see you are capable of closing deals. We will know if you communicate regularly, handle glitches and issues and close the transaction in a simple and timely manner. Once that occurs, you can become part of a Realtors lender referral list. He, who closes deals well, gets more deals to close. I have 5 deals closing this month and I am working with 3 different lenders. I don’t feel compelled to send every deal to the same lender; in fact, I find spreading the business around is better for me. Each lender and loan officer has different personalities, loan capabilities and business styles. If I have 4-5 different lenders I can refer my buyers to, I know there will be a good fit with one of them. The buyer’s happy and I’m happy because I know the deal will get done.
How about creating a marketing proposal for special lending programs you might have. There are many programs in various cities and counties I am not aware of. I would appreciate and more importantly, work with a lender/loan officer that took the time to gather specialty lending, grant, or other programs available to buyers. You get them to me, I market the program for buyers, you get the referral! It’s that simple. My days are spent meeting clients, faxing paperwork, ordering signs, placing lock boxes, writing offers, negotiating, taking pictures, uploading info onto the internet and buyer follow-up. To have a loan officer take the time to let me know of programs that buyers may not be aware of is just wonderful. A few posts here and there, some cards sent in the mail, email blasts to the ever growing database could turn up a new buyer or two. And again, who would get those referrals? Well I’m sure you can figure that one out.
It’s simple, if you want me to refer business that gives you a pay day, I need more than coffee cups and pads of paper. I need a business partner. Someone who will share with me marketing info and ideas, one who will send business back my way and be a trusted part of a team that makes things happen for customers. The market is difficult right now, there are many Realtors working hard to build their business. Pick one, pick a few and see what a little teamwork can do!
About The Author
Gail Foster - As an op-ed writer and active real estate industry professional for the past twelve years, Gail Foster is a proud licensed mortgage officer and a Realtor in the state of Maryland.