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?

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.

5 Ways to Help Buyers Understand Credit Scores

The homebuying process can be an overwhelming ride for buyers, particularly first-timers. Add in the aspect of understanding credit scores and your clients can become even more perplexed. While most homebuyers will require a loan, a fundamental step in acquiring that loan will be an adequate credit score.

This blog breaks down four ways you can make the credit score topic more understandable to your clients.

#1. Understand Your Buyers

One of the crucial first steps is to create dialogue with your clients on their understanding of credit. Start this off by asking some general questions, as it’ll set the stage for clearing any confusion. Do they have any student loan debt? Do they know what their credit score is? Have they owned a property before? Knowing where your clients are financially and their knowledge level will help you to tailor the information you give them in a more relevant manner during the buying process.

#2. Avoid Technical Language

In your daily life as an agent you may use terminology that the average non-agent individual may have no clue on. Using terms like LLPAs, PITI and loan-to-value won’t impress your audience, it’ll just add complexity. Financial jargon may be useful when it comes down to understanding the paperwork, but creating explanations that your clients will understand is key in keeping focus.

#3. Explain the Typical Timeline

Walk buyers through the entire process, from the purchase and credit line decisions that could impact their credit score to prequalification and preapproval to the process of applying for a mortgage. Many don’t understand the process after they’re approved but before they close. This time period is critical in terms of keeping the financial of the deal intact, so don’t end the timeline prematurely.

#4. Utilize Visual Aids

Many people are visual learners and they understand topics better if they can see what they’re trying to comprehend for the first time. Touch base with lenders and mortgage brokers that you frequently work with and ask if they have infographics or charts that’ll help breakdown the complex loan process visually.

#5. Bring It All Together

The process of homebuying has many complex stages. From perfecting the home search for your clients to walking them through the mortgage process, credit scores are another area that can cause confusion. Utilizing the five ways explained in this blog can create a simpler and better understanding of credit scores. To learn more about guiding your clients through these processes, begin your seven-day free trial of AgentEDU and gain access to our fundamental “Representing Buyers” video 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.