Things are looking up for mortgage lenders. As of August 2019, mortgage rates are approaching their lowest level in nearly three years, while in June, applications rose by 27 percent in just one week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Yet the current market conditions don’t tell the full story of the challenges mortgage lenders face today. Even as rates fall and applications increase, traditional lenders are losing customers to nonbank digital lenders like loanDepot and Quicken Loans’ Rocket Mortgage. With modern consumers demanding better digital homebuying experiences, traditional lenders are struggling to keep up.
The proof is in the numbers: more than half of North American homebuyers who apply for a mortgage with their primary bank do not follow through with the process. While some of these buyers fail to qualify for loans, others switch providers due to negative interactions and poor customer service. To address this problem, lenders must look outside the mortgage application process to provide an end-to-end platform for finding and financing a home. One crucial component of any such platform is a “realtor network” of trusted real estate professionals.
Loan Originators Exposed to a New Generation with New Requirements
Driving all of these trends are millennials, who will account for 80 percent of all home sales over the next decade. Of all age groups, millennials are the most likely to switch banks in order to look for better, more personalized services. Banks are feeling the crunch: in 2016, more customers left regional banks than joined them, with a total net loss of 15 percent.
Certainly, these buyers are looking for better digital resources to help them learn about the complicated mortgage process, communicate with loan officers, and manage the required paperwork. But more than that, millennials want a seamless experience that helps them navigate the homebuying journey from the discovery phase all the way to closing. Unfortunately, most lenders’ mortgage software is siloed off from other stakeholders in the homebuying process, resulting in a disjointed experience. Lenders also lack data and visibility on other parts of their customers’ homebuying journey, making it difficult to improve their services. Realtor networks can help banks address these challenges while generating even more business.
The Benefits of a Realtor Referral Network for Loan Originators
Realtor networks have a variety of benefits for financial institutions. First and foremost, a realtor network creates a two-way referral marketing engine that drives more highly qualified leads and closes more deals. This mortgage referral business helps financial institutions increase transactions and reduce customer acquisition costs.
Second, by building close relationships with realtors, lenders can address the fragmented experience of coordinating with different service providers to make the homebuying process more efficient and seamless. When loan officers and real estate agents cooperate, transactions are closed more quickly, providing the best experience for clients and saving time and costs for all stakeholders.
Third, realtor networks give financial institutions valuable insight on homebuyers’ activities outside the mortgage application process. By integrating realtors into their mortgage systems, lenders can track both online and offline behavior to identify clients’ preferences and monitor their progress through the homebuying process, helping them craft and time their communications for maximum impact. In turn, financial institutions can use this additional stream of data to improve their marketing and target the best leads.
Finally, realtor networks give financial institutions access to a pool of real estate expertise that can help them expand their reach to a wider geographic area. For instance, a lender with a client searching for a new home in another state can tap local agents from their realtor network to provide the guidance and support the client needs.
About NestReady’s Realtor Referral Network
NestReady’s realtor network combines the best realtors, superior customer service, and cutting-edge software to help financial institutions leverage their relationships with real estate professionals.
To begin, NestReady’s partner agents are pre-screened to meet the highest standards for experience in the field and customer satisfaction. Using proprietary matchmaking technology, NestReady pairs each of a financial institution’s mortgage leads with the local realtor with the skills and expertise best suited to their needs.
After pairing clients with their realtors, NestReady’s platform integrates and tracks each milestone, giving financial institutions maximum insight on their journey. In addition, NestReady’s own customer service team streamlines the client experience even further to guide homebuyers through the process and suggest next steps.
Finally, NestReady amplifies the impact of its realtor network for financial institutions using machine learning and artificial intelligence. NestReady analyzes homebuyers’ interactions with lenders and realtors to determine which behaviors demonstrate purchase intent, as well as optimal timing and messages for communicating with homebuyers at every stage. Meanwhile, NestReady’s artificial intelligence tools integrate with your CRM of choice to suggest follow-up actions and automate tasks, helping realtors and loan officers move deals forward faster and provide better customer service.