Knowledgeable mortgage professionals will tell you that building lasting client relationships is the best way to ensure repeat and referral business. And the numbers bear out the revenue potential of long-term relationships with homebuyers.
The typical American will move about 12 times in their life
, and after age 18, a person can expect to move about nine times as a financially independent adult, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Still, many mortgage originators concentrate their marketing efforts on funneling new leads for a one-and-done transaction.
In order to be there for the many home purchases that consumers will make in their lifetimes, originators must reimagine the role they play in their clients’ lives and strive to create a relationship that extends beyond a single transaction. So, what’s an originator to do?
The cost and effort that goes into cultivating new leads is extraordinary. This is why repeat and referral business is desirable, particularly in a competitive home-purchase market.
Thus, it stands to reason that creating strong relationships with younger first-time homebuyers like millennials, who comprise the largest demographic of homebuyers today
, and Generation Z, the oldest of whom are now entering the market, can lead to a lifetime of home-financing partnerships. These young demographics represent the most diverse generations of homebuyers in U.S. history. Despite their diversity, however, these generations share similar obstacles to homeownership.
Cultural Outreach’s 2021 NextGen Homebuyer Report
found that these young prospective buyers cited excessive student loan and auto loan debt, feelings of distrust toward financial institutions and a general lack of financial education as reasons for uncertainty in being able to buy a home. Tapping the first-time homebuyer market requires lenders and originators to earn trust by creatively rethinking sales and borrower education strategies. And this often means guiding these clients through what they perceive as an opaque and intimidating process.
Between hunting down leads, processing loans and adjusting to serve the growing market of young homebuyers, mortgage originators have a lot on their plates. With only so many hours in a day, how can they find the time to serve their borrowers and maintain connections with them after the loan closes?
Technology has evolved exponentially over the past decade to allow for smarter, automated ways for lenders to add value for homeowners. Many lenders use a customer relationship management platform, which can initiate automated reminders that keep originators on track with their client outreach over time. Digital surveys also are helpful for quickly obtaining client feedback and reviews. With survey data, lenders can identify specific ways to improve future transactions and address client problems.
Standout mortgage companies may even offer digital home-management products as a closing gift. These platforms are an excellent way to keep borrowers engaged by allowing them to plan home-improvement projects, store financial documents and keep track of maintenance tasks from their mobile devices. The best home-management solutions also include the lender’s branding, so its name and contact information is always front and center. Leveraging the tech solutions available in today’s digital marketplace is one of the most cost-effective and timesaving ways for lenders to remain connected with their borrowers.
Another way for lenders to support buyers and address their concerns throughout the loan lifecycle is by providing financial guidance. This is most often done prior to closing. Few lenders, however, make a concerted effort to continue providing useful financial guidance after closing, which gives dedicated originators a chance to stand out above the rest.
Enterprising lenders can help their borrowers become better stewards of their home by keeping them up to date with their home’s value and ways to improve it. Today’s automated valuation models (AVMs) give a useful ballpark estimate, but the median error rate hovers around 8% — meaning that these valuations can be off by tens of thousands of dollars per house.
Lenders should go the extra mile for their borrowers by expanding the way they look at home value. Factoring in more “in-home” data — such as new appliances, renovation projects and interior design enhancements — may improve a home’s value, as this data isn’t considered as frequently by many AVMs. Helping borrowers become better, more informed homeowners is a surefire way to leave a lasting impression and create future business opportunities. Moving forward, originators should shift their focus from transactions to relationships, which will ultimately lead to increased revenue, brand-loyal clients and distinguished ancillary services partners.
Purchasing a home is the biggest investment in most people’s lives, which is why buyers want to protect their home and stay on top of its value over time. Many homeowners don’t know how or where to start, however, so they turn to professionals for guidance.
Housing and real estate experts that work outside the lending process — including homebuilders, contractors, inspectors, real estate agents and homeowners associations — have more face-time opportunities with homeowners than lenders do, particularly after closing. This is why lenders can benefit from building and maintaining a network of reliable ancillary partners that work with buyers in between loans to improve their home and build equity.
Mortgage companies that want to stay connected with homeowners throughout the lifetime of their loan can do so by referring clients to authorized home-service partners. In turn, these service partners will generate referral business for the lender as they improve the home’s value and prepare the property for sale or refinancing. Staying connected with buyers through housing-industry partnerships requires minimal effort on the originator’s part and is one of the best ways to add post-closing value, build trust and keep clients coming back.
Ultimately, there is no foolproof method for lenders to guarantee repeat and referral business from their borrowers. But forward-thinking originators will reexamine the ways to connect with their clients and go the extra mile, even after closing. By making use of digital solutions, finding creative ways to add value and leveraging business partnerships throughout the loan lifecycle, lenders and originators can earn and keep their clients’ trust. ●