Dec 16., 2017.
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 realtors often work better — and more successfully — together. At Cornerstone, we’ve seen opportunities to help our realtor partners increase their profits in at least six different ways.
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Can a mortgage lender help a realtor sell? 6 partnership payoffs
Only about 23 percent of home sales in early 2017 were cash sales, confirms the January 2017 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey Report. 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 working with first-time buyers, the number is significantly higher — a realtor will work closely with a loan officer to help a buyer fund their purchase.
When a realtor gets support from a loan officer beyond basic funding, a special synergy can happen. This partnership may come with benefits like:
1. Increased business.
“One of the biggest sources of a realtor’s business should be referrals from past clients,” Brian Bomar, Regional President of Cornerstone Home Lending, Inc., NMLS ID 191018, says. Eighty-two percent of real estate sales come from previous clients, referrals, friends and family, and personal contacts.
“Hands down,” Bomar says. “The most important key to getting referrals is to provide a great experience. Partnering with a great lender is probably the most important way to ensure a consistent, lights-out experience for the homebuyer.” As Bomar explains, our world is transitioning more and more to an “experience economy.” People will forget a lot of things after they move into a house, he says, 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 the buyer:
- Were we polite 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 strong lender partner can greatly enhance a realtor’s business by giving them better communication, more negotiating power in offers, and overall stronger collaboration to help bring things together,” Bomar says. This all leads to more past client referrals and, overall, more business.
“Cornerstone really does make you feel special. Another wonderful thing about my job is that I get to work from home.” Is there room for you in our Cornerstone work-family?
2. Thorough prequalification.
Nothing can be more stressful for the realtor than getting a buyer prequalified, preapproved, and funded to close on a house. It’s often a waiting game with expected delays.
“Our company gives me the opportunity to develop strong relationships with realtor partners. We constantly add value that goes beyond closing loans,” Daniel Tokar at Cornerstone, NMLS 1098658, says. “I bring additional value to my realtors by offering a second look at offers made on their listings.” This provides the realtor with the comfort that the mortgage prequalification was done right and gives the realtor and the seller peace of mind it will close without hassles, Tokar explains.
3. Fast prequalification.
When working in a competitive seller’s market, speed can be the difference between making the sales and missing out on an offer to a faster buyer. When working with our realtor partners and our borrowers, we pay exceptional attention to detail, while keeping an eye on the clock. During the early prequalification phase in particular, we recognize the “need for speed.” Realtors want to get their buyers prequalified quickly to find out how much house they can afford so they can start hunting.
Cornerstone has invested heavily in technology that allows us to deliver faster prequalifications and loan commitments, Toby Roberts at Cornerstone says. “Quicker approvals mean buyers are ‘empowered’ to write purchase contracts. Everyone knows ‘time kills deals,’ and Cornerstone is the market leader in speed/execution.”
Better, faster, friendlier — our borrowers are using LoanFly to prequalify fast and fly into their mortgage.
4. Marketing support.
In a word-of-mouth profession like real estate, marketing support can be invaluable. Today, 88 percent of first-time buyers use a realtor, and 33 percent of these first-time buyers start researching online — whether for a house, a realtor, or a lender. Connecting the dots in the housing search can increase a homebuyer’s purchase power while making for a simpler and more positive buying experience.
Cornerstone and its affiliates have become the largest non-bank lender in Texas, and one of the most competitive lenders in the nation, by revolutionizing their marketing techniques:
- Cornerstone has invested heavily in marketing, especially around social media.
- Cornerstone’s social media platform allows Cornerstone Loan Officers to aggressively market properties while ensuring proper compliance. “Aggressive marketing is a ‘must have’ in today’s real estate market,” Bomar says.
- Whether it’s providing co-branded marketing materials or lead follow-up through our robust CRM, Cornerstone gives loan officers the resources to engage in realtors’ businesses, Tokar explains.
5. Proven track record and reputation.
Marketing support can be essential for the many realtors looking to expand their sphere and gain new connections. But as Inman News’ 2015 special report, “What real estate brokers and agents want from lenders,” so boldly asserts, promises mean nothing if a lender can’t put their money where their mouth is. In the report, 79 percent of realtor respondents said they currently don’t get leads from a lender partner. But roughly 74 percent of realtors surveyed said they would like to receive leads — as long as they’re from a lender they know and trust.
For loan officers like Tokar, this trustworthy partnership becomes the beginning of a long-term relationship. “I have some agents for which I only do their listings — I don’t do any buyer deals with them. But I review every offer that comes in on their properties. They know that the lender they trust is providing them with a second review of their loans,” he says. “Not only do we look at the application and sign off on it. But there’s a good chance we will also fund the loan for them.”
And many times, the value of the relationship wins out over the value of the dollar, even in a competitive industry like housing. Bomar says, “We routinely have buyers who find out that their offer wasn’t the best, but it was still the one accepted because the listing agent felt the offer was much more solid knowing Cornerstone Home Lending was behind it.”
6. Going the extra mile.
With the countless local and national lenders available, how can a realtor know which partner to pick? What Tokar frequently finds himself telling the realtors he partners with is this: “Every lender represents that they have great rates, compensation, and closes their loan on time. We have all those things and more! This is a company built on a foundation of a common sense approach to getting loans closed and backed by a culture of cooperation and service. What else could you ask for?”
If you’re in need of support from a lender, we’d love to welcome you into the Cornerstone family of partners. Our mission has and always will be to transform individual lives through lending. This is reflected in the relationships we cultivate with our team members, our industry partners, and our borrowers. When managed well, the Inman News special report estimates that real estate agents can expect to see up to a 20-percent capture rate from a successful mortgage lender partnership. Get in touch with a Cornerstone loan officer in your area to find out how we can help.
For educational purposes only. Please contact your qualified professional for specific guidance.
Sources are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.