Converting Leads

How Should Lenders Partner with Real Estate Agents?

By / March 27, 2019

Are you a lender thinking about partnering a local real estate agent? Evaluating your existing lender realtor relationship? Learn about the four most important things you should be looking for in your real estate agents before partnering up

Each real estate transaction has a number of stakeholders with each of them directly or indirectly dependent on the other to generate business. The relationship that exists between the real estate agent and the lender is a pivotal one.

A lender’s success has historically depended largely on how many real estate agents refer them home buyer leads. In fact, an article from Zillow states that “networking with real estate agents” as one of the 25 deciding factors for lender success.

While the success of a lender is still dependent on the real estate agent, the digital age has given more power to the lender.

A recent report from BCG shows that lenders are not only generating online mortgage leads themselves but also capturing real estate leads in the initial stages of the home search. And as lenders generate leads much earlier in the purchase process, they are now hunting for partnerships with local real estate agents to help their leads find the right property to buy.

The question is, how can lenders find the right real estate agent to help their leads? What are the criteria that a real estate agent must fulfill to be worthy of the task in this digital age? We’re going to answer just that in this article!

Experience with Converting Real Estate Leads

Before you send your leads over to a real estate agent, you need to make sure the agent has prior experience converting online real estate leads.

Tactics used to engage real estate leads captured from an open house or a direct mail flyer can be quite different from those used to engage online leads.

You simply cannot afford to let your real estate agent partner’s inexperience with online leads waste all that marketing money you have invested to generate them!

A good way to tell is to ask the agent how many real estate leads that he or she generates every month.

Ideally, the agent should be generating at least 20 leads a month via online channels like Zillow, Facebook, or Google. They should also have successfully closed at least 1-2 transactions from leads generated online.

You should also be wary of partnering with agents that are generating more than 20 leads a month as they may lack the motivation to partner up with you.

Think about it, would you spend more time chasing down a lead you spent $1,000 on Zillow for or a lead that was sent to you for free by a lender?

In your initial conversation with a prospective agent partner be sure to ask these questions to assess the quality of their fit with your partnership program:

  1. How many online real estate leads do you generate each month?
  2. Where do you generate your leads from?
  3. Have you converted any online real estate leads into deals?
  4. Can you share some more details about how you successfully converted those leads into deals?
  5. What’s holding you back from generating more online real estate leads to grow your business?

Check their Online Presence and Reputation

Buyers today increasingly rely on online reviews to help make purchasing decisions and the real estate industry is no stranger to this fact. In fact, Zillow even offers an option to filter out agents in your local area that does not meet a certain rating threshold!

When you are searching for real estate agents to partner with, you need to make sure they have a sterling reputation online.

Referring your leads to an agent with a solid online reputation will help build trust with your leads and also increase the likelihood of your leads successfully complete a transaction!

So, how do you go about verifying your agents’ online presence and reputation?

Start by checking their real estate license details online. Once you are confident that they are legally operating and compliant with real estate regulations, check their Zillow ratings.

Make sure they have at least five 5-star ratings from happy home buyers.

In addition, you should consider asking questions like these to dig a little deeper:

  1. How many transactions have you closed last year?
  2. Do you ask your clients to rate you on Zillow after a transaction?
  3. Would you be comfortable introducing me to two of your past clients?
  4. What would you do if a customer gave you a low rating on Zillow?

How serious are they about speed to lead?

One of the major challenges with converting online real estate and mortgage leads is that the majority of leads come in outside of business hours and on weekends.

Our research indicates that agents who aren’t working nights and weekends may be missing out on opportunities with more than 80% of real estate leads in some cases.

Lead qualification and lead conversion are tricky, and you should be absolutely confident that your real estate agent partner is aware of the challenges of converting online real estate leads.

As we have already seen from the BCG report from earlier, lenders are increasingly rolling out digital features to help their leads speed through the application process and convert more leads into loans.

You need to make sure that your real estate agent partners also value speed to lead and are committed to delivering the same level of efficiency as you are to your clients to help maximize lead conversion. Without a doubt, speed to lead is the most important factor in the lender realtor relationship.

Additionally, you should ensure your real estate agent partners have a CRM system that allows bringing lenders into the process to make sure you can collaborate effectively. If they do not, you should consider setting up a real estate or mortgage focused CRM system like Follow Up Boss or Total Expert and invite your agent partners onto your account.

We recommend asking the following questions to ensure your real estate agent partner has their processes, team, and tech built around speed to lead:

  1. What does your team look like? Who handles contacting new leads?
  2. Do you have an ISA as well to help with lead contact? What hours do they work?
  3. How quickly do you expect your team to contact new leads?
  4. How do you deal with the fact that the majority of leads come in outside of business hours?
  5. What systems do you use to help you and your team keep up with your leads?

Personality of the Agent

At the end of the day, the most important factor in deciding whether to partner with a real estate agent is their personality. Before you partner with an agent you should ask yourself whether you can see yourself developing a strong and productive relationship with them.

Here is a list of the top 10 attributes a real estate agent must possess to succeed in the business. Evaluate whether your agent partner matches had those traits.

If your agent is willing, you can also consider sending them a quick DISC profile assessment to help you figure out their personality type and how compatible it is with yours.

There are no good or bad personality types, it is just about mutual compatibility and meeting the needs of your business. Ultimately, don’t be afraid to go with your gut!

As a lender, a successful partnership with a real estate agent has the potential to truly transform your business and elevate you to the next level. You will be able to generate and convert more leads, close more loans, and build a network of happy customers that refer you business!

Putting in a little bit of work at the beginning to find the right real estate agent partners for you can make the difference between success and failure.

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