Keep All Parties Informed During the Closing Process
(TheNicheReport) -- Buying a home is one of the largest commitments an individual or couple may ever make. It is a highly energized time period that involves much more than just buying the home. First, many buyers have looked at dozens of homes before deciding on the right one. Second, they have to make an offer that may or may not be accepted by the seller. Third, they may need to consider selling or renting out the home they are currently in. Fourth, they need to buy furniture and decorations while considering paint colors and landscaping. Finally, homebuyers need to be approved for a home loan and that loan needs to be ready to go when the home is. All of these points, combined with a market full of first-time homebuyers, create the perfect storm for a stressful home-buying experience.
As loan originators we cannot control every factor for the home buyer; however we can help to alleviate some of the stress and unknowns when it comes to being approved for a loan.
Keep All Parties Informed During the Closing Process
With so many individuals and companies involved in the home-buying process, it is important that someone take the leadership role. Although the homebuyer knows most of what is going on, it is difficult for them, especially if it is their first home, to know what to expect. It is a good idea for loan originators to keep track of everyone involved throughout the process. Make a list including client contact information, contact information for all realtors® involved, the title and escrow companies and anyone else pertinent to the transaction. Knowing everyone involved will help the loan originator keep track of all moving parts, allow questions to be answered in a timely manner and help move the process along on schedule.
During each phase of the loan process it’s important to keep the buyer and their real estate agent(s) informed on what is happening, what information is needed from them and what the next steps are. One to two weeks before escrow is scheduled to close, ensure that the loan is on schedule to be fully approved and funded, and make sure the buyers know the escrow process, what to expect and when. Work with their agent to answer questions they may have and work with the title and escrow companies to make sure everything is on schedule to close from their side. In the last few days before escrow closes, be in constant communication with the buyer, real estate agent(s), escrow officer and title company to ensure all documents are ready to be signed and the house will close on time. Nothing is worse for the buyer and loan originator than having a home in escrow that takes longer than expected. This delays the buyer’s entry into the home and could result in the loan originator having to get additional information from the buyers (new paycheck stubs, bank statements, etc.).
Keeping the Buyer Engaged
Being in constant communication with buyers is one of the most important things that a loan originator can do. Pushing out information to buyers, their realtors® and others involved helps alleviate stress, ensures they know what is happening behind the scenes and gives them the opportunity to ask questions throughout the process. Make a habit of updating everyone on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or Tuesday and Thursday. Set aside an hour to call, give a quick update, see if there are any questions and get any additional information needed for the loan. Calls are the best way to do this. Loan originators are able to pick up on verbal cues and concerns that buyers might have. Although calls are best, especially when communicating with the buyer, emails can also work if there are a lot of people within the pipeline, but it is important that the loan originator verifies that the email was received, especially if there are action items within the email. If the loan originator does not have time to call and follow up regularly, it can be done by an assistant. If there is no new information to convey, it is still important to make contact and say that there is no new information; however as soon as new information becomes available, they will be contacted. Proactive communication from the loan originator will put buyers at ease and help loan originators to keep the loan on track.
Regular calls are especially important at key milestones throughout the loan process. These milestones are: Pre-Approval, Appraisal Ordered, Appraisal Complete and Filed, Conditional Approval, Final Approval, Documents Ready, Signing and Funding. Each of these calls should be made immediately, even if the loan originator just talked to the buyer a few hours before or the previous day. Each milestone could bring about a new question from the buyer, and provides an excellent opportunity for the loan originator to ask for referrals.
One of the best tools for expanding a loan originator’s business is referrals. Happy, well-informed buyers will gladly share information with their friends, family and co-workers about the experience they had with their loan originator. Buyers will share information with everyone in their personal and professional networks – it can happen in person, at lunch, at a backyard BBQ, at church, over the “water cooler” or through social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Remembering to proactively ask for referrals will help grow a loan originator’s business.
The loan originator’s overall communication will help create a positive experience for the home buyer, even during tough transactions. Having a proactive communications strategy is one of the most important aspects of building a business through referrals that can come from anyone involved in the process, from a title agent to buyer to real estate agent. All of these individuals have a significant stake in helping a loan originator’s business succeed, and they are more likely to refer future buyers when they know how simple a good loan originator made the process for them. Everyone involved in the process will talk about their loan originator, and what they say is determined by the loan originator’s actions throughout the process.
About Leif Boyd:
Since joining American Pacific Mortgage (APM), Leif has taken an active role in overseeing all aspects of mortgage origination including the responsibilities of business development, oversight of the production department and APM’s 112+ branches. For more information about American Pacific Mortgage and the services it provides, please contact Leif at firstname.lastname@example.org or (916) 960-1325. (NMLS# 225906)