Agents with a rich understanding of mortgage finance have countless opportunities to deliver more value to their buyer-clients and gain a competitive edge. After all, a mortgage is the most complicated but essential aspect of most buyers’ transactions.
Additionally, surveys from the National Association of REALTORS® have repeatedly found that over 90% of buyers count on their agent to help them navigate the home-buying process, including the financing aspect of their purchase.
Even though buyers rely on agents’ help and mortgage-related sticking points often cause headaches and delays—or can break transactions—most agents only have a nominal understanding of the mortgage finance industry.
The benefits of boosting your mortgage IQ seem like a no-brainer. But to further illustrate the point, here are six specific ways agents can use mortgage know-how to elevate their services:
- Answer clients’ questions with confidence and clarity
Mortgage finance is complicated, and homebuyers need easy-to-understand answers. If you can provide clear and crisp explainers on options and key steps in the process, your buyers will be prepared for a more successful transaction—and thank you for it!
- Know what to look for in mortgage originators
Like agents, not all lenders are created equal. Loan officers often approach their jobs differently, so learning how to “interview” them and interpret their answers is essential. Of course, buyers always have full discretion in choosing their lender, but they’ll appreciate several vetted options.
- Discern the meaning of “pre-approval”
One of the most significant differences among lenders is their process—the steps they take to qualify buyers and finalize mortgages. As a result, a “pre-approval” letter can imply very different things about a buyer’s status. That’s why it’s essential to ask detailed questions about their process—and to identify lenders with satisfying answers.
- Learn how to work with lenders successfully
As your understanding of the inner workings of mortgage finance grows, it becomes easier to stay in your lane while facilitating the underwriting process and keeping your buyers’ transactions on track.
- Firm up your buyers’ contract requirements
Once you’ve developed solid relationships with the best lenders, you can facilitate three-way discussions to strategize your client’s needs, timing, the down payment, and any nuances that may impact their contract terms. That way, you can sail through the contract when it’s time to write an offer.
- Improve your buyers’ negotiating position
If you’re working with the best lenders and consistently reaching the closing table without botched closing dates, you and your lenders’ five-star reputations could rub off on your buyers, improving the odds that their offer will be viewed favorably by sellers and their listing agents.
How to enhance your skills
Mortgage finance may seem complicated, but the good news is that the Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD) has made it substantially easier to get up to speed with a new credential, the Home Finance Resource (HFR) certification.
HFR provides a deep dive into mortgage finance and the loan origination process. After completing this one-day course, you’ll have the resources to deliver more value to buyer-clients and enhance your work with mortgage professionals.
The Home Finance Resource course is offered online or in person.
Learn more at crd.realtor/hfr.