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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