Realtors and lenders may work in the same industry, but they’re anything but competition. In fact, because of the distinct assets that both roles bring, loan officers and real estate agents often work better together. At Cornerstone, we’ve seen opportunities to help our realtor partners increase their profits in at least six different ways.
Can a lender help an agent sell? 6 partnership payoffs
Only 24 percent of recent home sales were cash sales. And unlike sales for investment properties, second homes, and distressed sales, first-time buyers are much less likely to pay in cash. This means that around 80 percent of the time — and when representing first-time homebuyers, the number is far higher — an agent will work closely with a loan officer to help a buyer fund their purchase.
When an agent gets support from a loan officer beyond basic funding, a special synergy can happen. A successful partnership may come with benefits like:
1. Boosted business.
One of the biggest sources of a real estate agent’s business should be referrals from past clients. Most buyers still find their agents through referrals from neighbors, friends, or relatives, especially younger buyers.
Hands down, the key to getting referrals is to provide an exceptional experience. Partnering with the right lender is probably the most important way to ensure a consistent, lights-out experience for every homebuyer. In all industries, our world runs on an “experience economy.” People may forget a lot of things after moving into a house, but they won’t forget how they felt.
As loan officers and realtors working side-by-side, we can ask ourselves these questions on behalf of each buyer:
- Were we curteous and encouraging?
- Was the process quick and efficient?
- Did the buyer feel informed and confident as the transaction progressed?
The speed, follow-up, and reputation of a lender can enhance a realtor’s business by giving them better communication, more negotiating power, and quicker loan processing. While almost all recent NextGen (Millennial and Gen Z) buyers reported enjoying their homebuying experience, they also felt realtor/lender communication could improve. Partnering with a reliable lender can meet this need.
2. Fast prequalification.
In today’s seller’s market, speed can be the difference between making a sale and losing out to another buyer. When working with our realtor partners and our borrowers, we pay extra attention to detail, while keeping an eye on the clock.
During the early prequalification phase, in particular, we recognize the “need for speed.” Agents want to get their buyers prequalified quickly to determine how much house they can afford so they can start hunting.
Time kills deals, as the saying goes. This is why we’ve invested heavily in the technology that allows us to deliver speedier prequalifications and loan commitments. Quicker approvals — and handy features like our Borrower-Generated PQ Letters — enable buyers to make an offer that stands out.
Better, faster, friendlier: Your clients can use our free LoanFly app to prequalify from anywhere.
3. Industry insight.
Nothing can be more stressful for an agent than getting a buyer prequalified, preapproved, and funded to close on a house. It’s often a waiting game with expected delays.
Cornerstone loan officers are encouraged and given the means (see number 5 below) to develop meaningful relationships with their realtor partners. The goal? To add value that goes beyond closing loans.
This can look like serving as a second set of eyes — offering to read through offers made on a listing, for example. Helping in this way provides an agent with the comfort of knowing that buyer prequalifications on offers were done right, also giving the agent and the seller peace of mind that their sale will close without hassles.
4. Marketing support.
In a word-of-mouth profession like real estate, marketing assistance can be invaluable. Today, 87 percent of all buyers use an agent, and 51 percent start searching for homes online.
Suffice it to say, it can literally pay to partner with a lender known for its digital and print co-marketing:
- At Cornerstone, we’ve also invested heavily in our marketing by creating an in-house marketing department that produces a continued variety of evergreen and newsworthy content.
- All Cornerstone loan officers have access to these marketing materials, used to educate borrowers, answer questions, and support their social presence.
- All agents who partner with our loan officers can freely share the same marketing resources with their clients — and request additional content from loan officer partners, as needed.
Whether it’s providing co-branded marketing materials or lead follow-up through our robust CRM, Cornerstone supplies loan officers with the resources to help engage and elevate an agent’s business. (Download our free Facebook guide for agents as just one example.)
5. Next-level service.
With the countless local and national lenders available, how can an agent know which partner to pick? You’ve probably noticed that almost every lender represents that they have great rates; since rates remain at historic lows, this is a given.
But what about the extras? At Cornerstone, we have a 100-percent commitment to closing on time and utilize leading technology to make this possible. We meet our commitment by keeping our processing and funding in-house — and by maintaining one of the strongest loan officer support ratios in the industry. This superior support enables our loan officers to devote even more time to your clients.
6. Proven track record and reputation.
As good as this sounds, promises mean nothing if a lender can’t put their money where their mouth is. For Cornerstone loan officers, a realtor partnership is the beginning of a long-term relationship. Many of our loan officers continue to review every offer that comes in on their partner’s properties. Others are happy to show up and do on-site prequals at local open houses.
The value of this relationship can often win out over the value of the dollar, even in our competitive industry. It’s not uncommon to see our borrower’s offer accepted over other stronger offers, just because the listing agent felt it was more reliable knowing Cornerstone was behind it.
Can we get to know you better?
Click here to connect with a local loan officer, chat more about what a partnership looks like, and discuss the many ways you and your clients can benefit.
For educational purposes only. Please contact your qualified professional for specific guidance.
Sources are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.