Mortgage rates are at all-time lows, and as a savvy homeowner or future homeowner, you realize the opportunity and want to hop on it. While yes, there is opportunity, it’s also no mystery that the mortgage industry is changing rapidly: government regulations and guidelines have become stricter, qualification standards have risen, and new laws are coming out daily. Now, more than ever, it’s important to trust the loan officer you are working with. But this trust works both ways. Loan officers want to work with borrowers who will qualify, repay the loan, have done some research and are prepared to get a loan; otherwise time spent on a borrower that doesn’t meet these criteria, is simply time wasted.
Many loan officers now operate online, which poses a dilemma since there is no real face-time: how can a borrower show the loan officer that they are worth the time and effort and how can a loan officer demonstrate his/her expertise and trustworthiness all through email and phone conversations?
1. It’s the digital age, show yourself!
These days everyone has a Facebook or a LinkedIn, so why not show yourself? Rice University conducted a study in 2009 examining members of Prosper.com, an online lending site where people looking for loans are matched up with individual lenders based on loan variables; borrowers are able to provide optional photos. A team hired by Professor Duarte of Rice University, rated loan applicants based solely on their photos to determine their trustworthiness. Those that “appeared” to be trustworthy by the team were more likely to get a loan from Prosper.com and tended to have a credit score about 20 points higher than those determined to be untrustworthy. Duarte says “the pictures are revealing something about the behavior of these people that is not taken into account in the credit score model.”
If you have a trustworthy face, include a link to your profile when you write an email to the loan officer. Or, if you’re a loan officer trying to gain a borrower’s trust, include a link to your profile, because chances are the potential borrower is going to Google you anyways. Why else might you show yourself?
- It adds a personal touch
- A photo will humanize you, it will give you a name and a face
- You will stand out as a borrower or loan agent
- Clearly shows you have nothing to hide
2. Communicate in a clear and polite way.
When you are communicating, whether it be on the phone or through an email, be sure to use correct grammar, and spelling, and always be polite. These things say a lot about you. If you can’t get out a full, intelligible sentence, don’t be surprised if you don’t get a response.
Borrowers: give the loan originator the information he needs to do his job and show that you have done some research already. The fact you have researched tells the agent that you truly intend to get a loan.
Loan agents: this is your time to shine, follow up with the borrower, leave voicemails, send emails and provide the information your borrower wants. This is customer service 101, but unfortunately an area where many loan officers fail to make the grade.
3. Make yourself available.
Provide multiple points of contact to the party you are working with. This will make it easier for both the loan officer and the borrower and will help make the entire loan process smoother and faster. If you are quicker to respond to an email than a voicemail, make sure the other party is aware.
People go the extra mile for someone when they like them, so make it as easy as possible for the loan officer, and he will reward you with old-fashion customer service and a great deal. Loan officers, you have to prove you are trustworthy, show your dedication in your follow up and be sure to share some personal details about yourself; build that rapport.