If you’ve been reading the news, you may have noticed that the prospects for a hot mortgage market are heating up. Employment is falling, credit is loosening up, and generally things in the economic sphere are improving.
What’s your best chance of taking advantage of a good opportunity? Being ready. With that in mind, here’s what you should do to get ready for a hot mortgage market in 2015.
Get Up to Date on Mortgage News
You can’t act if you don’t have all the facts. So it’s important to stay abreast of the most important news items for the mortgage market. Every week, look for news that answers these questions:
Are builders building and what are they building?
Developers have a big hand in what happens in the mortgage markets in the months ahead. For too long, builder confidence has been low. Developers have been focusing on the sure bets and not taking any chances. This might mean higher sales from affluent borrowers, but there aren’t enough of those to go around.
Lately, builders have been taking note of red hot markets where housing is going like hotcakes. There isn’t enough inventory and borrowers are lining up to try to score a property. Now builders are getting back in the swing of things and starting to build more of what’s in demand.
Your job is to stay informed about what that is — condos? mid-range builds? starter homes? That’s where your customer base is going to come from.
Are prices going up, down, or levelling off?
Prices have been skyrocketing for a while, but for the moment they’ve started to level off. What’s happening with prices affects what customers you’ll see. With more gradual valuation increases, you’ll probably start to see fresh borrowers jumping in now that things are settling down.
Check the news to see what’s up, or down, with prices.
Are rates going up, down, or holding steady?
Interest rates have been at rock-bottom levels for years. Some borrowers are still holding off, but with the economy improving, property supplies improving, and the Fed talking about rate hikes, people are going to be looking to buy or refinance to lock in today’s low rates.
Keep an eye on interest rates. If they start going up, get ready for a flood of business.
How’s the rest of the economy doing?
The Fed wants to raise rates, sure, but not if it wrecks the economy. Top officials keep saying they’re watching the economy closely. Make sure you are, too. A good labor economy, consumer confidence, and the Treasury bill market all have a hand in the mortgage market.
What’s happening with regulations?
Beyond the Feds raising interest rates, you also need to keep an eye out for new regulations that affect your business. You got a two-month break before you have to start worrying about TRID’s new disclosure rules, but stay vigilant. Regulations could cause costs spent to execute mortgages to jump, eating up more of your net income.
What new lending avenues are opening up?
A number of new lending options are opening up to borrowers as credit restrictions loosen up. Freddie Mac had good things say about its new 3% down loans this week, and no-doc loans are starting to make a comeback as well. It’s no longer all about the standard borrower with textbook finances, lenders are also considering borrowers with good track records who demonstrate they can handle a mortgage. Knowing the latest mortgage products available could help you serve a wider customer base, thanks to new products.
Get Your Process Ready
All the info will help you know when the market heats up, but you’ll have to be ready to execute when that time comes. That means you need to examine your process carefully. Do it now so that you’re ready when the time comes.
Technology can be a big help all across your mortgage broker process. You want data and tracking technologies that can keep pace with your business’ needs. Your mortgage partners also want fast turnaround with reporting and metrics. Having the right tools to get deals closed with lenders and agents could put you in a more favorable position to win future business.
For mortgage sales, a proper database and autodialer capabilities are a must. Lucky for us, there’s a good number of technology vendors out there that have products well-suited to mortgage industry needs. The only caution here is choose solutions that fit your budget.
If you have a team or are expecting to grow your team when business picks up, now’s also the time to consider these issues. Make sure your team knows what to do when the time comes and address any questions they have now. Think through your process and identify any weak links where you can make improvements. The better you can execute your customers’ loans, the better off your business will be.
Get In Front of Customers and Win Them Over
You can know when to expect business and have a plan to execute, but if you can’t get people in the door when the time comes, you could miss out on amazing opportunities. That’s why it’s hugely important to get in front of your customers when the time is right.
Referrals and repeat clients can provide work during off periods, but you’ll want to be more outgoing in a strong mortgage market. Buying ads, blogging, reaching out on social media, and cold-calling are all good ways to seek out new mortgage business. All the usual advice applies here:
Offer information and value through your blog or website.
Customers appreciate valuable information and despite a world filled with information, more and more customers are seeking out advice. It takes nearly twice as much product info as it used to for a customer to make a decision these days. They’re going to get that info from somewhere. If you want their business, be the one to provide that value.
Follow up on leads promptly.
The housing market can be tricky these days. If you get a referral or lead, follow up quickly for a better chance of winning the client’s business. A prompt, professional reply will instill confidence in your prospect and give you a better chance of beating out the competition.
Build a connection.
One of the oldest business rules in the book is still true even in the Internet age: people do business with people. Your demeanor, confidence, website bio, and recommendations all speak volumes about who you are and what your business represents. You want clients to feel comfortable doing business with you and to choose to do business with you because of the way you present yourself and your services.
Ask for referrals right before closing.
Right when your clients are ready to close, ask for those referrals. This is when the client is likely to be the most pleased with your service, so it’s a prime time to ask. Make sure to thank your clients for any leads they do provide. A handwritten note or small gift will show your appreciation.
The rest of 2015 offers a real opportunity to grow your mortgage business and take advantage of a red hot market. The question is: Are you ready for it?
Make sure you stay informed so you know where the market is going. Start prepping now, so that your process, systems, and teams will be ready when it’s showtime. Get in front of your customers when the time comes.
If you aren’t finding as many customers as you’d like, consider adding aged leads to your lead gen process. Aged leads are cheaper, provide a window to sell to customers in a low-pressure environment, and can offer a good return on investment, alone or as part of a wider strategy.
Visit the Aged Leads Store to learn more.