Mortgage brokers – how you can attract more first-time buyers

Mortgage industry veterans dole out advice on key buying segment

Mortgage brokers – how you can attract more first-time buyers

The tactic of reaching first-time homebuyers has been heightened in its urgency given a climate of inflation and volatile interest rates. The subject was discussed at a recent gathering organized by the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts, during which seasoned industry veterans offered advice and guidance on how to achieve that goal.

Dubbed a “mastermind session,” the panel discussion took place during the Hall of AIME event staged from Jan. 26-28 in Naples, Fla. Moderated by AIME’s vice president of education Mike Cox, the panel comprised Rebecca Richardson (pictured top left), branch manager at UMortgage; Amy Jo Tetzner (pictured top right), mortgage advisor at Mortgage Nerds, LLC; Angela Cason (pictured below left), senior mortgage loan officer, Delaware Financial Mortgage; and Lamont Harris (pictured below right), president/CEO of Capital Mortgage Group.

Why is it important to focus on first-time homebuyers?

“Because you don’t know what you don’t know,” Richardson said, before conveying her personal experience in buying her own home. “We bought our first house at 23,” she said. “It was a great financial decision but a really horrible process and a lot of that was because of the loan officer.”

The experience inspired her to educate clients on the journey of their first home purchase, she said: “When I became a loan officer, I’ve been trying to avenge that,” she joked, alluding to her first experience buying a home for the first time. “I feel it’s my duty to share what I know with other people so they can improve their lives and their financial positions,” she said.

Read more: How to become a mortgage loan officer in 10 steps

Harris focused his answer on the premise that first-time homebuyers can often become repeat ones: “It’s important because I truly believe that first-time homebuyers are the lifeline of our industry,” he said. “They are that piece that keeps on giving. There are so many opportunities that exist within the niche of the first-time homebuyer.”

For Tetzner, dealing with first-time homebuyers inspires an opportunity to educate: “It’s the wealth building,” she said. “We know that. We know that the key to building wealth but we have to teach that to the generations to come, and it’s super important because we’re not learning that in high school. We are the teachers in that.”

Dealing with first-time homebuyers often can pay dividends, Cason said: “You also get to have your reputation told to their families, and everyone else they know,” she said. “It opens up more windows.”

How to create awareness

Cox asked the panelists how they go about creating awareness in their respective communities. For her part, Tetzner said community involvement is key. “It’s happened to me a million times when someone says ‘hey, Mary Joe!’” she said. “When you build that presence and you’re that person with mortgage, people just associate you with mortgage. I am my mortgage business and everything that comes to me and everything I talk about - I’m always on and I’m always working and I’m always there to help people with their questions. That’s what I love about my job  -- my past clients are my friends, my family. If you’re doing it right, you will feel that.”

Cason spoke to the importance of having a well-identified brand: “It’s really important to have a brand and work on it,” she said. “Last year, I started working with a marketing person, and she has made me a local celebrity,” she said with a laugh. “She posts things five times a week to my Facebook; she has a whole schedule. She has stories up on Instagram. She makes me do TikTok. I go to either real estate events or the bar – anywhere. People come up to me and say ‘I saw you dressed up like a football player for a mortgage ad – that’s hilarious.’ It’s just stuff that makes people laugh and relate to and they don’t take me too seriously and I’m not intimidating. Now, I’m approachable.”

Tetzner added: “But become comfortable with that. You’re going to feel uncomfortable when you’re constantly posting on Facebook, but you have to get over that. You have to be comfortable. Sometimes, you need to stop trying to be a perfectionist – get it done, and move along.”

Richardson – a prolific user of social media under her alter ego the “mortgage mentor” – agreed: “Done is better than perfect.”