Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked with Sarah Valentini, the principal of radius financial group, inc., for her tips on how agents can navigate the mortgage process.
Working with a great lender is as important as finding a trusted financial advisor, attorney or doctor. Most of us do not forge relationships with such professionals based on online advertisements quoting the lowest fees. Yet, when it comes to home financing, the first question we typically hear is “what are your rates?”
I am not suggesting price should not be a concern for anyone. However, it is not the only important factor, especially when it comes to mortgages as rates and closing cost vary very little between lenders when comparing apples to apples.
Realtors with solid relationships with lenders can help do more for their business than just offer financing for their clients. A good lender can be a great problem solver in countless situations, such as home inspection, title V or other issues that we often encounter. So, how does a Realtor build a relationship with a good lender?
4. Ask Other Agents – Who do they like working with, and most importantly, why do they like working with them? I believe responsiveness, reliability and integrity should top the list of attributes.
3. Interview Loan Officers – Yes, interview them. Everyone has different communication styles and personalities and you want to make sure you forge a relationship with someone you can communicate with and depend upon.
2. Talk with Your Clients – Many of your clients will come to you already pre-approved. Talk with them about their experience with their lender. You may find someone extraordinary. Do not count them out simply because you have not heard of them.
1. Ask for References/Testimonials – You can speak with other REALTORS®, clients or even ask for copies of surveys completed by previous closed transactions.
Keep in mind – commitment dates and on-time closings are far more important than catered lunches. Some of the best loan officers cannot be available for every broker open house, because they are busy working with clients and making sure they deliver on the important contract dates.
Don’t hold that against them. If you work with a reliable and responsive lender, you do not need someone to always buy lunch. You will be closing more transactions and getting more referrals. Any referral you make is an extension of you. Make sure it is someone you are proud to work with and one you can trust to help your clients with their individual needs. I don’t know anyone with a tenure in the business who has not experienced a sleepless night or two over a transaction. A trusted advisor relationship with a lender can help take some anxiety off your plate. Trust me, they will be the ones losing sleep making sure they never let you down!