What's the key to strong client relationships?

Senior LO on treating people equally

What's the key to strong client relationships?

As senior loan officer at Northstar Mortgage Group, Katrina DiBiase (pictured) told MPA that the key to success in the industry is maintaining strong client relationships – namely by putting people at ease.

“It’s the simple things,” she said. “Answering the phone when they call, replying to emails in a timely manner – texting them back. I have this motto where at night, if I haven’t returned a phone call or replied to a message then I’m not going to bed.”

This dedication to client communication is something which sets DiBiase apart in a tough market – a market still reeling from the aftershock of the COVID pandemic.

“Ever since COVID, [everything] has progressed to online platforms – not as many face to face meetings occur,” she said. “[But] I like people to know I’m a real person. I live in Maine, am present and active in the community and I care about you. Also, once a borrower is under contract I provide a very detailed document - a step by step of what can be expected that includes each of my team members and their role. 

“If I let people know what to expect and provide constant communication, it alleviates a portion of stress typical in the standard loan process. In addition, it builds trust and solidifies they are not a transaction but my community, my people - and typically by closing I am part of their family [too]. That feeling has created my passion for mortgages.”

Communication in the mortgage industry

Constant communication is even more important when dealing with first time home buyers. And, due to DiBiase’s top notch reputation, first time buyers seem to flock to her.

“The relationship doesn’t stop at the closing table for me - I still have a client from eight years ago who I go to spin class with,” she said. “Since our first transaction he’s purchased three homes with me - so a lot of my clientele is repeat business from the trust and relationships built. I help people buying $3 million dollar homes on the ocean and I just closed on someone buying their first mobile for $150,000. My device is treating everybody equally - whether a first time buyer or your third or fourth loan, you’re going to get the same dedication and attention to details.”

This approach has led to a lot of success stories for DiBiase. She told MPA that one which really sticks in her mind is helping a client who was relocating – only to have his loan revoked mid-journey.

“He found out from his current loan officer that the loan didn’t work,” she recalled. “He was moving from another state with his pregnant wife when he found out he was homeless. He called me frantically and within minutes of listening to his story I knew the loan program that the other loan officer tried to do would have never worked for his scenario. But the good news was I had a loan program that would. I was able to get him into a conventional loan versus FHA, this was not only a less expensive loan for him, but it also got his family to the closing table.”

His family was so touched the client wrote rave reviews about DiBiase – something which hit home and is exactly why DiBiase chose this career… the families.

“He wrote this review and said I really listened to him, I really cared. I was not biased on his race or social status – the things he was describing of me, I didn’t even realize,” she said. “I went into fight or flight mode and was able to get his loan closed in a little over a week. It was just remarkable – the kind words that he said in text messages to me were saying I saved his family. Things like that are what keep me going in this industry.”