1. Realtor referrals
Most people shopping for homes already have a realtor. A seasoned realtor can offer you names of brokers if you ask. The upside is the realtor trusts their mortgage partner, they have a history of doing business together, and they communicate well.
However, potential conflict of interest issues can arise. We like to think most industry professionals are ethical, but unfortunately, enough out there are engaging in activities such as kickbacks and fee splitting that will adversely affect the borrower. Without getting too much into detail, there is a reason an entire section of mortgage reform called RESPA Section 8 is devoted to deterring this huge problem.
The client is placing their trust in the hands of their real estate professional. If you feel that your realtor is being overly pushy towards one lender, or worse, states that you must be pre-approved through their lender, this is a big red flag. Walk away. This person does not have your best interest in mind.
Fortunately, most realtors out there are honest professionals who want their client to get the best deal possible, and there are many positive collaborations between real estate and mortgage professionals if everyone plays fairly. We work with a network of good realtors that abide by our philosophy that we work for the client’s best interests.
2. Lead exchanges (one-stop shopping)
These are your online websites such as Lending Tree and other lead compiling sources. They often advertise on Zillow, Trulia, etc. and encourage you to enter some basic information for one-stop shopping.
The upside is that you get to sit back and wait for the loan officers to contact you. If you are a prime borrower you might have to field a ton of phone calls, but you can narrow it down to the best rate available.
But a huge downside is that there is no way to know how qualified or honest the loan officer is. Essentially, this is a game of lenders outbidding and/or being the first one to get the customer on the phone. Bait and switch is notorious in this industry. Teaser rates or details purposely left out can mean you end up at closing with a deal much different than you thought you were getting. Or you might find out along your loan process that your mortgage guy doesn’t know what he is doing.
3. Social media and online advertising
We promote our programs on all the major social media platforms and search engines. This is a great method of outreach for people who might be interested in our programs but aren’t aware they exist, or for people who are actively doing their own searches.
If you do a basic internet search such as “mortgage rates”, your top search results will be from the big retail lenders and online lenders such as Quicken Loans. You will get a lot of hits from reputable big name lenders. From there it is straightforward rate shopping.
But as you narrow down your search terms (i.e. “self employed borrower”, “no income loan”, “bad credit loan”), the number of good search results plummets. This is where you have to tread very carefully. There are a lot of scams or inexperienced companies out there. The nature of these loans is that they are very complex and provided on a limited basis. You need to trust that the loan officer purporting to do your loan knows what he is doing, and has your best interests in mind.
We receive a lot of inquiries from borrowers with challenged credit history, self employed borrowers and investors from our online marketing. We appreciate when they do their due diligence as smart borrowers and reach out to us through our website and social media.
4. Referral from previous customers
Friends and family are reliable sources—whether they had a great experience or a horrible one, you are bound to hear about it. Reviews from past clients are also very helpful. Whether it is a restaurant, movie, or any service provider, word of mouth from real customers is probably the most trusted source of information these days. Please visit our testimonials page to check out what our past clients say.
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