How Mortgage Lenders Can Be Better At Their Job

Setting yourself apart in the competitive mortgage lender industry

It's the multi-million-dollar question every originator wants to know: How can I set myself apart in an increasingly competitive market? 

Of course, there's no magic answer, no silver-bullet answer to this question. Every market varies and the many pieces of the mortgage puzzle are always changing. Staying current in this competitive landscape isn't easy, but keeping in mind some helpful tips can help any mortgage lender reach deeper into the market. 

Or, equally as important, help them stay relevant.

Before we jump into opportunities, let's start by addressing one leading challenge: The fact that when consumers want a mortgage, they aren't always starting with pre-qualification. Thanks to the influx of digital technology and new online players, a mortgage lender's ability to capture the home buyers attention faces more competition than ever.  The proliferation of online real estate sites has turned the home buyer into a shopper who won't know the cost of their purchase until check out.

Which leads us to our first tip.

Think Digital First

The concept of digital innovation disrupting any industry isn't new, particularly in real estate. But how real estate deals are conducted is changing, and fast. Originators must be innovative, relationship-centric and tech-savvy. 

This begins by having a strong digital presence. More and more, online channels are where consumers are turning to, and if you're not offering a seamless online experience, customers may look elsewhere.

Leverage Technology and Be Innovative

In 2017, it's easy to toss around the term "innovative." Every new tech launched into the market is lauded as "being innovative," until another, better solution comes along. Still, lenders must think outside the box and ensure they are leveraging the right technology and solutions to help them think, and act, like an innovator.

For example, this means using services like RatePlug that offers more than marketing technology to attract the home buyers by leveraging affordability, FHA, VA, and USDA eligibility. This particular technology is fully integrated within the MLS and pre qualifies all properties available within the market. Additionally, the lenders rates and products are used to calculate a monthly cost to own affordability calculation with PITI, and where applicable HOA fees. This becomes very valuable to the agent, the LO, and empowers the home buyer with the information needed to make decisions about financing a particular property. For originators, RatePlug enables them to enhance their working relationship with agents, in an environment of portfolio rebalancing developing productive agent relationships has become a real priority.

Use Tech - But Don't Forget The People 

Although lenders should stay ahead of technology trends, and leverage tools, what's important to keep in mind is that, as RatePlug CEO Brad Springer points out: "People will power mortgages, not technology." 

Instead, he says: "Technology should empower relationships with people, not replace them." 

"Technology makes the difficult things in the mortgage process simpler. It also makes the most complicated things easier to understand. But what technology can't do is build that face-to-face personal interaction that is, well, human," Springer said. "Strong relationships married with the right technology provides the optimal service."

But technology isn't everything.

As Springer points out: "Mortgage technology is helping, and it will continue to help make buyers smarter and transactions smoother. But we will remain a relationship business, and that means the best technology won't replace people - it will help them."

Mortgage Lender Best Practices:

●    Offer Prospective Homeowners Tools: Calculate property specific affordability with a monthly cost to own for your agent's clients. Then provide access to a mortgage calculator to help the home buyer to determine how much they can actually afford. When a client inaccurately believes they can qualify for a loan, everyone loses out both the agent and originator spend time neither can afford to waist.

●    Automate Your Marketing: Using a service like RatePlug allows lenders to display their  mortgage payment and branding information within the property listings their agents are sending to home buyers.

●    Stay Connected and Focus on Leads: 74% of home buyers consider the Mortgage Company referred by their agent, according to Realtor Magazine. Ensure you are staying visible and relevant in the agent community.

●    Remember To Stay Mortgage Advertising Compliant: Use a partner like RatePlug when sharing property and lending information. Use FTC-MAP. TRID, RESPA, and TILA compliant communication, be transparent and ensure customers know what terms they are agreeing to.

●    Use the Right Disclaimer Language: Using a fully vetted company provided disclaimer or the National Association of Realtor's disclaimer is recommended. 

Keep Solid Records: Real estate professionals must keep all mortgage related communication for 6 years (RatePlug retains all mortgage related communication for 10).