The housing market is continuing to improve, with an upward trend in buyers considering new home construction. A recent economics report by TD Bank showed that housing starts topped 1.2 million for two consecutive months for the first time in eight years. It's a welcome boost for builders and a clear sign that consumer confidence and job stability are starting to affect the housing market. Now is the time for builders to capitalize this and form strong relationships with industry experts that will help them meet the demand for new homes. A smart first step is to schedule a meeting with a local Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO). Here’s why:
Educational Resource – MLOs provide expertise through every step of the mortgage process– from obtaining a pre-qualification letter to ‘live loan’ status updates, and renewing loan paperwork to the final sale. The best MLOs guide buyers and builders through the process and identify products that make sense for the buyer. They understand the many moving parts of a loan and can calculate the options. Find an MLO that will work to determine the best option for your buyer.
Discounts and Benefits for Banking Customers – Relationship banking is here to stay. Chances are, if your clients are banking at a local institution, they’ll qualify for an added discount or incentive applied over the life of the mortgage loan. While incentives add value to the ordinary banking relationship, being able to begin the mortgage process as a customer at a familiar neighborhood store makes the buyer feel more comfortable and confident about the this big step.
Diverse Financing Options – Financing is a critical part of the home buying process and a good loan officer can provide a wealth of knowledge about loan options. MLOs at regional banks may offer a more robust product suite to meet a buyer's unique financial situation. For example, our bank’s construction-to-permanent loan allows buyers to purchase a property and finance renovation with just one loan. Buyers can also use this loan to finance a new home construction project. They include terms for completion of construction (typically a year) and require interest-only payments for the first 12 months on 80 percent of construction costs.
Constant Communication – A solid working relationship between a loan officer and builder is built on trust, reliability and communication. Bankers view their relationship with you, the builder, as a partnership, where you’re both working for the same goal—to get your buyer to closing. The best MLOs notify you and the buyer immediately when clarification or added documentation is required. Experienced loan officers know that timely communication keeps the process moving forward, building a stronger reputation for the builder and improving a homeowner’s home buying experience.
Of course, as in any business relationship, vetting loan officer you work with is important. Not every bank or banker will have what you or your buyers are looking for. Get to know the MLOs in your area, so you can give your buyers more options. When speaking with MLOs, evaluate response time, follow-through and accessibility—they’re all crucial to a successful partnership. In the end, you will discover some knowledgeable, committed and dependable professionals who can become partners in serving your clients and expanding your business.
Ray Rodriguez is Vice President and Regional Mortgage Sales Manager for Metro New York at TD Bank. He has over 21 years of experience in the mortgage banking industry. Ray oversees training and development for the mortgage sales team and is responsible for growing market share within his region.