couple discussing mortgage with a lender

How To Stay Current on Real Estate Financing Options

As a real estate professional, you know that your clients expect you to help them understand every aspect of buying or selling their home, including financing. And even though your clients will also be working with a lender in the sales process, it’s still always a good idea for you to have a basic understanding of the lending process, how financing works, and what may be some of the better options for your clients to check out.

Remember Your Industry Role

While it’s important to remember not to represent yourself as a financing expert or financial professional (as these roles have their own licensing and education requirements), and certainly not to unduly steer or influence your client’s decision-making process in this area — you certainly can play a reasonable and prudent role in raising awareness of potential options to consider. There is nothing wrong with sharing knowledge and informing clients in a general way.

Get Comfortable with Numbers

Some real estate professionals find this particular aspect of the industry intimidating or off-putting — especially if they’re not a fan of numbers or math, or they simply don’t feel confident that they can obtain a full understanding.

Even though you may need to overcome some mental hurdles, one of the best things you can do for yourself and your business is to get educated on this aspect of home ownership. Yes, it is sometimes overwhelming and complicated for most of us, but if you take just 15-30 minutes each day to do a little reading or talking to a lender, the knowledge really starts to add up and the learning accelerates. Start small, but be consistent.

There are many free resources available on the web, many books on the topic available at the bookstore, and many formal and informal sources of education that you can find.

Add Value to the Client Experience

In your local market, your awareness and ability to educate your clients on their many lending options can serve as a tremendous value-add to your positioning as the local real estate expert. As someone who works with both home buyers and lenders all of the time, the information that you gather and the advice you can offer in this area is huge. So what should you do?

Tips for Staying Current

Being a mortgage lender isn’t your occupation. And, with the lending industry changing rapidly, how can you stay up to date? With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at 3 ways you can stay on top of lending practices and the loan types and offers that are available in your area. 

#1. Explore Continuing Education Options

Seek out “lunch-and-learns” or other educational opportunities that are hosted by mortgage lenders — at lending institutions, local universities and libraries, or your local Realtor® association and other trade group offices. These opportunities can be a great way to stay on top of new trends or offers in financing, while also allowing you to get to know others in the industry. Attend sessions for first-time homebuyers and consumers, where you can both gain knowledge and meet potential leads.

#2. Show Your Inbox Some Love 

Sign up for helpful newsletters and informative emails on the topics of lending, financing, and mortgages. Create a folder in your mailbox and automatically filter these newsletters from your inbox to this subfolder. Then, when you have time, read through the newsletters and you’ll likely be surprised at how much you can learn.

Other things you can save to your email folders are the lending contacts that you accumulate in your work with clients, so that you can reconnect with them when it makes sense to do so. You can also save information about financing options for specialty market segments — such as veterans and seniors. These groups in particular may benefit from special offers, but may be unaware they exist or be overwhelmed by the choices or details.

#3. Network, Network, Network 

Network with local lenders and mortgage officers to stay up to date on their most recent programs and offerings. In some cases, lending programs aren’t advertised widely or are local in nature. They may pop up quickly and be offered for a limited time period. A client who is able to save thousands or tens of thousands of dollars on the financing of their home — simply because you made them aware of an option they had no idea existed — is likely to become a long-term client and also give great referrals.

Remember, a lender will be involved in nearly every home sale in your career. If you haven’t already begun to cultivate relationships with local lenders, start now. These relationships can dramatically add to your success as a real estate professional — and your client’s overall satisfaction. 

For more information on the financing process and how you can help serve your clients, sign up for our AgentEDU courses Real Estate Mortgage Basics and Guiding Your Home Buyer Through the Mortgage Process today. 

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AgentEDU® is a platform where agents at every level can come to watch 10-minute video courses for the many situations that successful agents must master. From essential to advanced level and everything in between, AgentEDU® courses help agents become top producers with increased earnings and a plan for continued growth. For a 7-day free trial sign up here.

AgentEDU® is an Agent Publishing brand. For nearly two decades, Agent Publishing has been committed to providing residential real estate professionals with the information and training required to build successful and meaningful careers in their local markets. Agent Publishing’s influence extends to every career stage and reaches agents across print, digital, events and online learning.

Mortgage Rates and the Market

Mortgage rates are a factor for both buyers and sellers, which means agents need to be aware of what they’re doing on any given week. However, focusing too much on what economists or the news media say can throw you off track.

This blog explains the impact that lower mortgage rates have in fueling housing market optimism.

Solid Ground

One of the factors of there being such optimism for the 2019 year in regard to the market is the fact that mortgage rates are at their lowest levels in 10 months. This comes even as many economists and mortgage lenders were warning of higher interest rates in 2019.

With the recent downtrend in rates and extra inventory opening up, the spring homebuying market will have an extra push. Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater stated that “the U.S. economy remains on solid ground, inflation is contained and the threat of higher short-term rates is fading from view, which has allowed mortgage rates to drift down.”

Mortgage rates stood at an average APR of 4.41 percent on the standard 30-year fixed-rate loan, just 0.09 above last years’ levels, according to a February report by Freddie Mac.

Khater goes on to mention that today’s buyers have a larger selection of homes on the market as well as more consumer bargaining power than they’ve had in the last few years. Couple that with these low mortgage rates and there could be an early rally for the spring housing market.

Economists Eye the Fed

A key component in the market is what actions the Federal Reserve will make. In late 2018 there were signs that the Fed was going to continue raising rates, and some economists estimated at least three rate increases for 2019.

However, economic data gave Fed chair Jerome Powell cause to rethink that idea. Now a recent survey of economists done by the Wall Street Journal shows that most don’t expect a rate hike before June.

Furthermore, most economist agree that there will likely only one more rate hike, probably in late 2019. This will effectively keep borrowing costs much lower than previously anticipated through 2019 and 2020.

Borrowing costs hinge on forward-looking indicators such as Fed meeting minutes and the consensus of economists, so reduced expectations on rate hikes for 2019 may keep mortgages more affordable for the first half of the year. However, there is a good deal of uncertainty baked into every economic forecast, so even expert consensus may not be a reality.

Keeping Focus

Given the uncertainty, it’s key to be a levelheaded. It’s never a good idea to rely 100 percent on what an economist says MAY happen in the future is a good move. Being informed but also taking the information given with a grain of salt will put you more at ease and allow you to properly respond to the housing market.

 The real estate market has many indicators to look at and factors that play a role. Being in the know and taking note of the trends is key in planning the road ahead. For more valuable tips and tactics on mortgage rates check out our AgentEDU course dedicated to Mortgage rates. You can start with a seven-day free trial and gain access to the “Real Estate Mortgage Basics” course.

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AgentEDU® is a platform where agents at every level can come to watch 10-minute video courses for the many situations that successful agents must master. From essential to advanced level and everything in between, AgentEDU® courses help agents become top producers with increased earnings and a plan for continued growth. For a 7-day free trial sign up here.

AgentEDU® is an Agent Publishing brand. For nearly two decades, Agent Publishing has been committed to providing residential real estate professionals with the information and training required to build successful and meaningful careers in their local markets. Agent Publishing’s influence extends to every career stage and reaches agents across print, digital, events and online learning.