It’s evident that the rising interest rates have impacted much of the US Economy and its workforce. Mortgage professionals like Loan Officers and Brokers see the impact firsthand with the decline in housing inventory and the accumulated rise of interest rates. These factors along with tightened lender parameters make it more competitive for the deals that do arise. Although the real estate market is sensitive to economic fluctuations, successful brokers can adapt to changing circumstances using some of these tactics.
Any decent broker can sell the lowest rates when inventory is booming, and buyers are knocking down the door. But when times get tougher, it’s the brokers that diversified that will thrive during the tougher market periods. Starting with a diversified group of lending partners can make it easier to place those fundable deals that do come up, as opposed to only trying to target deals for one specific lender. Even if expanding the number of lenders that a broker is using it’s always important to truly understand their products & programs to place the right deals accurately and successfully with the right lenders.
Depending on the broker’s knowledge and exposure it could help to diversify the services being offered. If the business focuses mostly on conventional mortgages, consider expanding into commercial real estate, SBA loans, or other avenues of business financing. Broadening the services offered by the brokerage can lead to other revenue streams and potential new repeat business.
Utilizing referral agreements can be a great way to draw new business or earn commission on deals/ clients you refer to others. As a broker offering a referral reward to clients is a great way to earn new business from reliable sources, while building that existing relationship with the referring client by offering a reward for sending new business. Using the referral partnerships offered by other brokers/lenders can be a great way to earn income on deals or clients that may not be a direct fit for your brokerage. Overall, diversification can help offset the impact of the economic downturns.
Offer Excellent Service
One of the most important parts of being a successful broker, especially given tough market conditions, is offering excellent customer service. The service offered by the brokerage is one of the few things that are controlled by the brokers themselves. Being transparent, timely with responses, and clearly setting expectations can lead to a greater client experience. The better the clients experience the more likely the brokerage is to receive repeat business or future referrals.
In times when business may be slower, offer more to existing clients. This could be as simple as educational content, one-on-one meetings, or even guidance on how to grow their portfolio. Offering additional expertise and showing interest in the client’s overall success can strengthen that relationship. Regardless of rates, the customer services provided are always in the broker’s control.
Technology can provide streamlined solutions in a broker’s business which can improve processes and the overall organization of the business. Tools such as CRMs and digital communication outlets can make it easier to market to your customers. Loan Management Systems, like the one offered by Bridge Loan Network, offer a secure and organized location to store loan transactions during the origination process. By being more organized on loan transactions it can improve the efficiency of closing as well as the customer’s overall experience.
Remember, technology should always be solving an existing problem. Do not try to implement technology where it may not be needed, but more so leverage tech where it fits into your current workflows. Tech also typically comes with a cost, both financial and the implicit cost of adopting a new technology. It is important to consider this when shopping for tech products. Landing the right technology can offer stability when rates and programs are ever-changing.
Enhance Marketing & Branding
Given the highly competitive market in the midst of an economic downturn, it is extremely important to have a recognized company brand and effective marketing strategies. Having a brand that is easily recognizable, unique, and relatable to the business gives clients (new and existing) an easy way to find and remember the company. Establishing a brand also gives an added sense of professionalism to the business and makes new clients feel more comfortable doing business.
Effective marketing strategies can help bolster the brand, gain exposure, and generate new leads. While marketing may not take the front seat, it is a crucial part of continuing success during tough market conditions. There are many different marketing channels that exist today making it easier to adjust marketing strategies to be more targeted or cost effective. Typically, adjusting marketing is a quick way to reduce overhead budget. Content creation, social media campaigns, and publishing successful transactions can be great outlets for low-cost marketing strategies. These or similar strategies can also add a personal element to the brand allowing clients to feel more connected to the business. This can lead to more customer loyalty or attract new customers who may not have that feeling with their existing broker.
Things in real estate can change fairly quickly. Staying prepared during any downswing is a great way to explode during the inevitable upswing. Keeping a close eye on market conditions, industry trends, new technology, unique lending products, and new regulations can prepare you for success as demand rises. Being knowledgeable on these topics can allow for easier decisions to be made when considering business choices while also preparing for any big market or rate changes that may be ahead.
Mentorship or continued education is an additional way to stay prepared for waves of future business while sharpening the brokerages’ skills. Not only can mentors and education opportunities equip the brokerage with the knowledge to navigate difficult times but empower the company to thrive and come out on top of the competition. Investing in the betterment of the internal side of the business is a great way to set up the company for future success. Focusing on the controllable aspects of the business is one of the best ways to grow the company through periods of high interest rates and low demand. Staying prepared is a key to success in any market conditions.
Every brokerage is different. Each has unique challenges, specific needs, and their own strengths. However, each has one thing in common and that is the lack of control over interest rates. Implementing a mixture of the tactics explained can help brokers adapt to changing circumstances while controlling the growth of the business instead of letting the high rates impact the company’s success.
Author: Jacob Therrien