Extraordinary Customer Relationships Grow When You Provide Knowledge!


I read recently that the recent drop in interest rates has bumped up the “re-fi population” to 6.7 million borrowers from 5.2 million last month, according to a report put out by Black Knight Financial Services.
How many of those homeowners did you sell a home to in the last 8–10 years? You now have a very good reason to reach out to your successful homebuyers and provide them with this news. For many homeowners, the barrier to refinancing was inadequate equity, a disruption in employment or simply bad timing in the interest rate markets. When rates were lower people were not in a financial position to refinance for many reasons. Still for others, it could simply be a lack of awareness of the financial markets and the current interest rate environment.

Delivering valuable and timely information to your clients is one of the best ways to grow extraordinary customer relationships. In these times of extremely low inventory, the agent with the listing wins every time. Connecting with your homeowners consistently is the best way to stay top of mind when they are considering a move.

However, this information regarding declining rates and rising values could also spark a conversation about listings. Research and anecdotal evidence shows that many homeowners do not have any idea what refinancing options are available to them. They are often unaware of the amount of equity in their home and of their personal buying power. There continues to be so much negative press about the availability of mortgage credit that people who are well qualified to move up don’t believe that they may qualify. You have an opportunity to raise awareness and in the process, generate a couple of listing possibilities!

Timely and value-added communication with customers is key. This simple act of service could help them save money today or on future mortgage payments, which could put them on a path to new housing opportunities. Ongoing conversations with customers bring more value than any recipe card or sports team event calendar ever will.

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Speed = Sloppy = More Work for all in the process chain.

It is busy in the mortgage world.  Rates have dropped enough to spur a refinance boomlet, and the spring market has opened early due to fair weather and The New England Patriots loss. 

As frequently referenced in this post, the mortgage process is exacting.  It requires that all documents match and that the mortgage application is bolstered by the supporting documents.  The appraised value must be supported by the report and the comparable properties and the title commitment should be clear.

When business ramps up everyone gets busy and when everyone gets busy mistakes get made.  Those mistakes require extra work for all involved because there is zero tolerance for sloppiness in the mortgage process.

Recently an appraisal report was submitted for a second home on Cape Cod.  The report was written subject to the utilities being on and verification that those utilities work.  We went to the client on this refinance and they stated to us, “that does not make sense, we use the house year round, while the appraiser was there the heat was on, the lights were on and I gave the appraiser a glass of water out of the tap!”

Apparently there was an error on this report.  It can be a common practice for an appraiser to simply open their software and copy over an old report.  It is not uncommon to see erroneous data on an appraisal report due to this practice.  Now everyone in this transaction is impacted, our processor had to drop everything to call the borrower.  Then the processor had to reach out to the appraisal management company to get the report repaired to contain the correct information.  The appraisal management company had to connect with the appraiser who then had to fix the report and re-upload it into the system to be reviewed yet again.

These types of situations are experienced daily in the mortgage business, from incorrect condo questionnaires to incorrect listing data.  Remember that we in lending are held to a very high standard by our regulators.  We are supposed to have all information 100% perfect, yet we are only humans, dealing with other humans who we depend upon in this process.

In a tightly timed process with penalties that hit if the timing is not met, data has to be right the first time.  Take a few extra minutes up front before you fill in the blank.  Make sure that you have the right data going into the right box.  Rushing through this process increases the likelihood of errors and can create a chain reaction of more work for all in the process chain.  Speeding can cause accidents not only on the road, but also in mortgage transactions.

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Still Decluttering? How about decluttering your relationships!

Two Facebook posts that I read the other day caught my attention; one right after the other, and the theme was easy to spot.

“Show me your friends and I will show you your future.” Then, “Don’t waste time on people that don’t sharpen you. You need to evaluate who’s on your team? Who’s speaking into your life? Who are you giving your time and attention to? Are they building you up or tearing you down?”

In the same spirit, Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” suggests that one way to determine whether to keep or let go of an item, be it clothing, housewares or collectibles, is to consider, “Does This Spark Joy?”

Can we use this same approach in our relationships? Clearly my Facebook friends were talking about the people that we surround ourselves with, and how much our associations contribute to our lives and to our personal and professional successes.

I’ve thought about this subject long and hard. Jim Collins’ book, “Good to Great,” is one of my defining business reads. There are many terrific business concepts discussed in this book. One concept that I think about frequently is, “get the right people on the bus and get the wrong people off the bus quickly”. Meaning, hire talent when you discover it and swiftly release people who do not fit with your culture or are not working out for other reasons.

Where does the concept of, “sparking joy,” fit in to whom we hire, whom we work with, or who we let into our lives?

I think that requiring all your relationships, whether professional or personal, to spark joy is a good qualifier among a list of many. I also want my personal and professional relationships to challenge me, spar with me, need me, make demands of me, argue with me, contribute to and support me, and allow me to do the same for them. When relationships are balanced, productive and supportive they will demand a lot from us, and that, in the end, is joy.

What sparks joy for you in your professional or personal relationships? When you have identified this for yourself, you can declutter your relationships, and build a community of joy and stimulation to help take you into your future.

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