How Loan Officers Build Referral Partnerships

How Loan Officers Build Referral Partnerships With Realtors

Gustan Cho Associates are mortgage brokers licensed in 48 states

In this guide, Joe Betro of The Loan Store will cover how loan officers build referral partnerships with realtors. Real estate agents are the biggest referral source for loan officers. Joe Betro has a national reputation for helping new loan officers become multi-million dollar producers. Here is what Alex Carlucci of Gustan Cho Associates says about Joe Betro:

Joe Betro, aka “The Above Average Joe.” has a national reputation for having the lowest rates on VA and conventional and non-QM mortgage loans.  Any mortgage loan officer in the industry will realize that when they price out a conventional, VA, or non-QM loan on Optional Blue, Joe Betro of The Loan Store is the wholesale lender with the lowest rate.

Joe Betro has helped countless newly licensed loan officers become multi-million dollar producers and is a keynote speaker in many corporate training seminars.

Building Referral Partnerships With Your Realtor Long Term

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Realtors depend on loan officers to close purchases. In this article, we cover the following points:

  • Finding agents to work with
  • Becoming a trusted partner
  • Keeping your agents happy

To become a successful loan officer, the loan officer should have a network of loyal realtor partners. However, how do you keep the real estate agent as a long-term referral partner? The following sections will cover maintaining your referral realtor partner long-term and not losing them to the competition.

Building Referral Partnerships with Real Estate Agents

There are many ways to establish relationships with real estate agents. A loan officer is like a flower in a field. It would be best if you worked to stand out from the crowd. Alex Carlucci of Gustan Cho Associates said the following about Joe Betro of the Loan Store:

The Above Average Joe has over eight years of lending experience both in retail and wholesale and a five-star reputation of having the lowest rates on VA, conventional and non-QM loans.

Thousands of loan officers will respect Joe Betro because he never talks out of his ass like many. If he is unsure of something, he will tell you he does not know but will get you an answer.

The Importance of Having A Reliable Wholesale Mortgage Account Representative

Top-producing loan officers will tell you the importance of building referral partnerships with real estate agents to have a reliable, knowledgeable wholesale account executive. Having a knowledgeable, reliable wholesale account representative versus a five-star lender is more important.

Gustan Cho Associates has a list of top individual wholesale account representatives who for their go to loan submissions. Top producing loan officers rather have an A tier account representative than an A tier wholesale lender.

Not only does the Above Average Joe Betro close his loans for his loan officers, but he also closes them on time with style. In the following sections, Joe Betro will discuss building referral partnerships with real estate agents. Joe will explain how non-QM loans work. If you want to know how wide the loan officer field is, look at the map above from Realtors are expecting more from loan officers than to offer products.

How Loan Officers Build Referral Partnerships With Realtors

What Are TBD Approvals and How Does It Work

TBD Approvals, Verified Pre-Approval, and Underwritten Approval Letters. They have different names but aren’t handled the same between lenders. Some lenders don’t even offer them! If you aren’t working with a lender offering TBD approvals, you’re making your life harder than it needs to be. If you’re working with one that doesn’t do them correctly, you could be setting yourself up for disaster.

So, you ask, “Above Average” Joe, what the heck are you talking about?”. As a retail LO, one of the “plays” we were screamed at to run was to get our Pre-Approvals reviewed by underwriting with all the initial sub docs (income, assets, credit). “But Joe, I don’t want to ask my borrower for documents; they’ll think I’m pushy.” Listen, I get it. However, you must ensure you’re working with a qualified borrower for you, your borrowers, and the realtor you’re trying to earn referrals from. The 100% BEST way to do that is to get the file in front of an underwriter regardless of the borrower’s profile.

It doesn’t matter if the borrower is the cleanest blue chip or if they’re an “if you squint hard enough, it could work” situation. Sell the blue chips on the red carpet service. Sell the not-so-well-qualified to ensure their time won’t be wasted (nobody wants to look for a house they aren’t qualified for). The fact that an underwriter has reviewed your borrower and has conditions makes your job SO much easier once TBD flips to an Offer Accepted for at least these four reasons.

The Strength of TBD Mortgage Underwriting Pre-Approvals

The Play:  Call your buyer’s agent once you get approved for a TBD mortgage underwriting pre-approval. They’ll be impressed with the value you provide.

Referrals! You now have a reason to impress two new referral sources. Congrats!

Most other LOs don’t do this. It would be best if you stressed that the buyer’s agent NEEDS to call you when the offer is going in so you can tailor your TBD approval to the borrower’s offer and make sure you go over numbers with them so they don’t get cold feet. This is great because it steers the buyer’s agent towards needing you, which is great for future referrals.

ASK PERMISSION from the buyer’s agent before the offer goes in to call the listing agent.

The Play:  Introduce yourself to the listing agent, let them know that the borrower has been through underwriting, that this is your standard procedure, and hang up the phone. Nothing else. They don’t want their time wasted and don’t know if they will accept your offer. They’ll save your number if they know what’s good for them.

Quickest Ways to Build Referral Partnerships

According to Joe Betro, here is a to-do list for becoming invaluable to Realtor partners:

  • Study and know the product guidelines for loans offered.
  • Stay up to date with industry changes.
  • Understand the market.
  • Define a niche; it is great to offer various lending options.
  • Find Realtors focused on the borrowers in your niche.
  • Create educational seminars to inform Realtors of the options you offer.
  • Team up and co-market with social media, cross-promotion of websites and postcards, door hangers, and flyers.
  • Put on buyer education events together.

Putting a referral program in place cannot be done overnight. It takes patience and time.

Be Accessible and Honor Your Word

Be impeccable with your word. Loan officers should never over-promise and under-deliver. Keep communication open and timely with updates on the loan status, appraisal, docs, closing, and any unforeseen circumstances. Communication is imperative.

One cannot just put a loan in the pipeline and forget about it. Determine the best tool of communication for each Realtor. Maintain a blog or newsletter. Keep borrowers and agents updated with market trends, changes, laws, regional happenings, and news. Make it personal. What do you do that no one else does? Maybe it has nothing to do with lending, ex: include family recipes in the newsletter — BE YOU!

Do not drop the ball, get lazy, fail to lock the loan, or promise the impossible. Sugar and spice might be nice, but customer service will ensure you thrive in the lending industry rather than merely survive.

Find out what they’re qualified for.

Borrowers get confused or misinterpret things easily. They see numbers flying around and get scared. Sure, doing a regular preapproval can give them an idea of what they can buy, but they’re less likely to get cold feet if you’re holding their hand at this stage. This makes you look like a genius and puts the heavy lifting for qualifying your borrower on an underwriter.

BONUS POINTS: My company has the same underwriter qualifying the TBD Approval from TBD to Funding. Ask your other AEs about this. I’ve worked at places with a DIFFERENT underwriter, which causes issues because, as we all know, income can be viewed differently by different underwriters.

Avoid that tight close timeline.

Your normal borrower will think they provide a library of documents to qualify. They’re wrong in most cases. Doing a TBD removes the pressure on the borrower because the borrower isn’t worried about getting you documents and the next steps for closing. They need to find a house. Set the expectation that if the search takes long enough, you will need documents updated occasionally.

The Importance of Having a Trusted Wholesale Representative For Non-QM Loans

The Big Red Machine taught me this one. Suppose you have a borrower’s documents before they’re under contract. In that case, they’re less likely to go to another lender because most borrowers won’t save all their documents in one location after they send them to you. Joe Betro, an associate contributing editor at Preferred Mortgage Rates and a preferred wholesale lender at Preferred Mortgage Rates, powered by Gustan Cho Associates, is a top wholesale non-QM consultant for The Loan Store. Joe Betro said the following:

Stickiness – Betting on Human Laziness.  Get your borrowers engaged. Request documents and issue them a solid pre-approval letter.  Most borrowers of non-QM loans are loyal since non-QM loans are non-traditional alternative lending programs for owner-occupant, second homes, and investment properties.

They’ll have to regather everything. It’s not a perfect bet, but if a borrower has trouble sending you their documents once, do you think they’ll do it again? If the borrower is this disorganized, you’d have to do something stupid to make them mad enough to send their docs to another broker.

Knowledge and Integrity Are Keys to Success

Instead of delivering doughnuts and coffee, be the bearer of knowledge. If government guidelines change, the local market tanks, or a new business is coming to town with hundreds of jobs, be the one to share the news.

Get creative and think of how to collaborate with agents for mutual success. Bring value, honesty, integrity, passion, and a commitment to each relationship. Work together for the good of the buyer.

Lastly, my number one rule is to NEVER sell out of desperation but out of inspiration. Be inspired and team up with realtors to grow together!

How Loan Officers Build Referral Partnerships with Knowledge

Successful loan officers have extensive knowledge of mortgage products and guidelines. The team at Gustan Cho Associates thrives in being updated to the newest loan programs and guidelines up to date. Gustan Cho Associates has been in the mortgage and lending industry for over a decade. Many loan officers took some time off from retail sales as mortgage loan originators after the 2008 Real Estate & Mortgage Crash.

Most of our loan officers are passionate about helping home buyers with credit issues.  Our licensed and support personnel adhere to government and conventional mortgage guidelines.

Every member of our team works closely together. This can mean working closely together as a writer, fellow loan officer, or operations team.  Gustan Cho Associates is growing. We will start many full-time mortgage loan originators within the next 90 days. Most employees choose Gustan Cho Associates as their home due to the zero lender overlay policy. Our business model is second to none. Our ESOP for our employees. Stay tuned for more mortgage and real estate blogs,

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