How to Meet and Network with Local Lenders and the Importance of Working with Multiple Lenders

Every good agent needs a list of local lenders who can help his or her clients with their mortgage loan. With 26 years’ experience, FORCE members Wayne Strickland advises fellow agents to make sure their list of lenders includes some lenders who specialize in non-traditional loans.

Homebuyers often rely on their agents to be able to refer them to lenders who can help them with their mortgage loans. Agents should be ready with a list of reputable, trustworthy lenders who can help clients effectively and provide quality customer service. In order to be prepared to meet any client’s needs, agents should also make sure to have on their roster of lenders to whom they refer their clients some lenders who specialize in non-traditional loans.

To gain perspectives from both the lender and agent communities, we spoke with Marcus McCue, Executive VP/ Chief Business Development Officer at the Richardson, Texas-based Guardian Mortgage, and long-time FORCE member Wayne Strickland, Owner/ Broker, Stellar Properties to find out what are the best ways for agents to meet and network with quality local lenders in their area.

Here is what they had to say:

McCue, Marcus     Marcus McCue

Executive Vice President and Chief Business Development Officer at Guardian Mortgage 

When mortgage lenders are working to build relationships with agents that are growing, working to extend their network, and seeking relationship partners that help them ensure more successful transactions, they turn to those in the industry who are working with agents like these on a routine basis. This often includes relationship partners employed at title companies and insurance agents (property and casualty). In addition, they often look for local materials, rankings, and reviews online. Lastly, they go to those areas where they can meet lenders who are investing their time and effort in agent relationships, which would include local Realtor Association meetings, real estate events, and training opportunities. This would be a useful process to employ for agents to meet local lenders by connecting to relationship partners for referrals, search online resources for ranking and reviews, and meeting with those at their local Realtor Association meeting and other real estate focused events.

There are many opportunities to network with lenders. These range from their own Realtor Association meetings, local networking groups, real estate focused events, title company events (holiday parties and business connect events), and various training opportunities (often lender hosted continuing education opportunities). In addition, they should not shy away from engaging with lenders who are involved in volunteer and charity events that have a common interest.

With regard to forming relationships, the best way is to schedule a one-on-one meeting with the lender. This meeting should be focused on the needs of each individual and if there is a true match. Both parties should be honest on what they expect, need, and desire in a relationship. It has to be a match on these details, the communication points and timeliness, the feedback loop, personal and professional goals. If there is no match, just make it clear and move on to the next opportunity. There are enough lenders for agents to be selective, to ensure they are confident in the lender’s ability to match their desires, deliver a value proposition to their clients and help them earn additional referrals by creating predictable, accurate, and compelling experience for the buyer.

Strickland, Wayne   Wayne Strickland

Owner/Broker of Stellar Properties in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, with 26 years’ experience in real estate

Local lenders are anxious to meet new agents. Ask more experienced agents about their experience with those and other local lenders they’ve worked with.

One of the things an office can do is ask a lender to come to the office for a sales meeting to explain their programs, especially their special programs for particular buyers or properties.

Do not depend on just one lender. Note that different companies have different programs. Try to find out what different programs lenders have. These days it’s the property that doesn’t qualify for a particular type of loan. The buyer is qualified, but the property is not. For example, only a limited number of companies will loan on a double-wide. Also, look for lenders who do rehab loans that aren’t 203K loans. (203Ks are getting a little more restrictive.)

I live near the beach in a resort market, and not every lender understands the resort market. Homes here are purchased for vacation rental income, so the owner is classified as an investor, even if they are not your typical  multi-property purchasing investor. I have to work with lenders who understand these factors.

Also, have in your arsenal a lender who can do investor loans for investors purchasing multiple properties. That’s not going to be an FHA loan or a loan going to Fannie or Freddie.