– Independent mortgage brokers should embrace today’s market to prepare for when rates drop.
– There are two types of people in the mortgage space: those waiting for rates to drop and those working to better their business.
– Brokers should focus on strengthening relationships with real estate agents, educating borrowers, and improving marketing strategies.
– Brokers can leverage tools, technology, and services to streamline operations and enhance productivity.
– UWM offers the PA+ option to provide additional loan processing support.
– Providing a great client experience is important for referrals and repeat business.
– UWM’s Memory Maker allows brokers to send personalized thank you items to borrowers and real estate agents.
– The wholesale channel is expected to continue thriving when rates drop.
– Brokers who embrace the market, improve processes, and prioritize client experience will succeed.
– The independent mortgage broker channel will continue to dominate and be the top choice for consumers and real estate agents.
HousingWire recently spoke to Alex Elezaj, chief strategy officer at UWM, about the work independent mortgage brokers can do right now to prepare for when rates drop and how to go above and beyond for clients.
HousingWire: Why should independent mortgage brokers embrace today’s market?
Alex Elezaj: It’s only a matter of time before rates drop, and when they do, there will be a clear difference between those who have been preparing and those who have not.
The way I see it, there are two types of people in the mortgage space right now: those who are simply waiting around for rates to drop and those who are putting in the work to better their business. The winners have spent 2023 focused on strengthening relationships with real estate agents, educating borrowers and improving their marketing strategies.
The reality is, we can’t control the rates, but we can control the service we provide and make sure we stay in front of past clients. Those who are focused on how they can get better and taking the steps to make improvements to their business are the ones who are going to come out stronger and more successful for the long term.
HW: What can independent mortgage brokers do right now to prepare for when rates drop?
AE: It’s important to leverage tools, technology and services that streamline operations and enhance your productivity now so that when volume increases, these steps are already part of the process. At UWM, we ensure our clients have a full suite of resources to help them grow their business in any market.
For example, PA+ is an option for UWM clients to receive an additional level of loan processing support, with the goal being to ease some of the most time-consuming parts of the loan process from setup through closing. Most recently, we enhanced this service to allow brokers and their processors to choose which part or parts of the loan process they’d like a UWM loan coordinator to handle.
Not only does this give them more flexibility, control and support, allowing them to scale their business immediately, but it also offers brokers and processors additional assistance during busy times and makes them more available to have meaningful touchpoints with borrowers.
Some of UWM’s most successful clients are taking advantage of PA+ today to ensure their businesses are set up for success when rates eventually drop. Preparing is all about using the resources available to you.
HW: Providing a great client experience goes a long way when it comes to referrals and repeat business. What’s the secret to making long-lasting impressions?
AE: The reality is, nobody wants a mortgage. They want the house. This is why, as an independent mortgage broker, providing an elite client experience should be the main priority for every loan. When a borrower looks back at the homebuying process, we don’t want them to think about potentially stressful parts. We want them to remember how seamless and easy their broker made it.
To help with this, UWM recently announced Memory Maker, which allows independent mortgage brokers to send their choice of customized thank you items to borrowers and real estate agents. This includes personalized thank you emails or handwritten notes and gifts for borrowers, such as a cutting board, ice bucket or welcome mat.
It’s these types of gestures that leave a lasting impression in someone’s memory bank that can lead to repeat business down the road. On average, a person will own three homes in their lifetime. That’s a potential for three separate mortgages in addition to refinances. Believe it or not, a handwritten thank you note to a real estate agent or a customized cutting board for a borrower can go a long way in making sure that broker is top of mind when those needs arise.
HW: We know rates will drop at some point. What will things look like in the wholesale channel when they do?
AE: The wholesale channel reached a new milestone last quarter with the broker market share achieving its highest level in over a decade. We’ve seen a massive shift in retail LOs transitioning to the wholesale channel, and we expect this trend to continue. The broker channel continues to prove it’s resilient and thrives in all market cycles, and we are prepared for the day rates tick down, just like we were prepared when the market shifted to purchases.
Brokers who are embracing this market and taking the time to improve their processes, marketing and client experience will win. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the doom and gloom surrounding the housing industry right now, but if we block out the negativity, outwork the competition and do right by every borrower we interact with, the independent mortgage broker channel will continue to dominate and be the obvious choice for consumers and real estate agents.
Property Chomp’s Take:
In a recent interview with HousingWire, Alex Elezaj, chief strategy officer at UWM, discussed the steps independent mortgage brokers can take to prepare for when rates drop and how they can go above and beyond for their clients.
Elezaj emphasized the importance of embracing the current market and not simply waiting around for rates to drop. He suggested that those who have been focused on strengthening relationships with real estate agents, educating borrowers, and improving their marketing strategies will be better prepared for when rates eventually decrease. While mortgage brokers cannot control interest rates, they can control the level of service they provide to their clients and ensure they stay in front of past clients.
To prepare for the anticipated drop in rates, Elezaj advised independent mortgage brokers to leverage tools, technology, and services that streamline operations and enhance productivity. He highlighted UWM’s PA+ option, which provides an additional level of loan processing support to brokers. This service allows brokers and their processors to choose which parts of the loan process they would like a UWM loan coordinator to handle, offering more flexibility, control, and support. By using resources like PA+, brokers can scale their business immediately and be well-prepared for increased volume.
Elezaj also stressed the importance of providing a great client experience to generate referrals and repeat business. He explained that borrowers want the house, not the mortgage, so it is crucial for brokers to ensure a seamless and easy homebuying process. To help with this, UWM recently introduced Memory Maker, a program that allows brokers to send customized thank you items to borrowers and real estate agents. These personalized gestures, such as handwritten notes and thoughtful gifts, leave a lasting impression and increase the likelihood of repeat business in the future.
When asked about the wholesale channel and its future when rates drop, Elezaj expressed confidence in its resilience and ability to thrive in all market cycles. He noted that the wholesale channel has been experiencing growth, with broker market share reaching its highest level in over a decade. Elezaj expects this trend to continue as more retail LOs transition to the wholesale channel. Brokers who embrace the current market and focus on improving their processes, marketing, and client experience will be the ones to succeed when rates eventually decrease.
In conclusion, Elezaj encouraged independent mortgage brokers to stay positive, outwork the competition, and prioritize the needs of every borrower they interact with. By doing so, the independent mortgage broker channel will continue to dominate and be the preferred choice for consumers and real estate agents.