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The Goodfellas: An Agents Guide to Finding the Perfect Loan Officer



birdsIn the great long food chain that is real estate, agents sit at the top. The mortgage loan officer sits right underneath with a bucket trying to get the agents to drop a few trinkets. While this may sound a bit harsh, it is well known in the industry that any successful mortgage professional will have a handful of very strong Real Estate referral partners. For loan officers this is a very successful and time tested marketing strategy. That is why loan originators love Real Estate agents.

Now sitting at the top of the food chain, Mr. or Mrs. Agent gets lots of calls from lenders. I’m sure you’ve been to lunch or, coffee or, a seminar sponsored by a salivating hungry loan officer. You probably felt good about yourself and liked the attention. However, at the end of the day how do you decide which ones to keep in your wallet and which ones to turn away? Because believe me there are plenty of bad loan officers out there.

Finding a good loan officer to work with is almost like dating to find a partner. While it may not be quite as complicated as dating, when the loan officer puts their best foot forward, you do need to know that the bad foot in the back isn’t going to kick you one day before the transaction is supposed to close?

Agents, fear not. Today, I present to you the five critical factors to evaluate the loan officers knocking on your door. If you do your homework as I’ve outlined below, I’m confident you’ll find a good loan officer who will not only do well with your buyers but may even send you some new buyers all together. Now, isn’t that something!

#1. Service: You hear it every day. In any service based industry. And any loan officer with a brain will repeat it verbatim. “I provide good service.” Blah, blah.. blah. But ask them what good service looks like? Does it have a color? a smell? a logo? because, in my opinion good service will always have a distinct flavor. To toot my own horn, my good service is a black and white faxed weekly status report called a “Details. Details” sheet. Ask any agent I’ve worked with and they’ll tell you exactly what I mean. One agent almost asked my wife out because of this!

#2. Communication: In a way this is a subset of service, but I consider it important enough to give it a separate category. A lot of things happen during the loan process, sometimes unexpected things come up. That is why straight, direct and regular communication with the agent is vital in having a smooth transaction. Any loan officer who lacks this skill is not worthy of your time. When it comes to communication, I also like a professional communicator. I personally frown on E-mails with too many grammatical and spelling mistakes, telephone conversations that feel fishy, and unprofessional phone messages.

#3. Attention to detail: When it comes to lending, the devil is truly in the details. Details such as rent payment method (cash or check), alimony payments, current marital status – can all derail a transaction if the loan officer has not asked the right questions while doing the pre-qualification. When selecting an LO I would ask lots of questions and measure their “anal-ness”. The more the better when it comes to a real estate transaction.

#4. Tech-savvy: In today’s world, as an agent I would like to know if the loan officer has a technology footprint. And how big, deep, wide is this footprint? I’m not talking about just having a Blackberry, an iPod and the cool blue tooth ear piece that makes them look all techie. I’m talking about web presence, CRM systems and the size of their offline marketing universe. I suggest searching the loan officer on Google and see what you find.

#5. Muscle Tenacity: Specifically, brain muscle tenacity. This ties into service a bit too, but what I mean is I don’t like quitters. Will the loan officer go the extra mile? Will they take an easy “no” over a slightly difficult “yes”? For example will they run all the loan scenarios? Can they do a thorough cost benefit analysis on an ARM vs. Fixed rate loan? Can they look at the big picture and propose effective solutions for long term financial success using equity management techniques? If the experience of the past few years teaches us anything, it’s that bad loan officers can bring down Wall Street.

BirdsAny loan officer who rates high on these five factors will prove to be a valuable business partner. In fact, if you’re working with a strong mortgage professional the food chain is a bit different. The loan officer and you can both be at the top, passing trinkets back and forth. Believe me, I’ve passed on a few very lucrative buyers to the agents I work with. The look on their faces is quite breath taking!

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  1. Mariana

    October 25, 2007 at 4:32 am

    I think that the largest hurdle that many of the lenders that I run into is #2. Like too many agents are – up front all kinds of communication, but in the middle of it – BAM! Where’d they go?

  2. Benn Rosales

    October 25, 2007 at 4:36 am

    I remember being told when I was new to the business, a lender worth their salt isn’t reachable by phone. I tend to lean towards lenders who aren’t salty and actually will talk to me when I need answers. I also evaluate their processing system and it had better be above par or the lender matters not.

  3. Ken Jansen

    July 23, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    Hi Shailesh,

    WOW great list. I think you are a genius because we agree on all points, hah. In my 13+ years I narrowed it down to just a small handful of LOs that are a good fit. All are very customer service oriented. Nice job, well written.


  4. real estate agent guide

    July 8, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    nice and great post..readers will be like this… planning to loan is good to start investing.. but use wisely…thanks

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Economic News

How small businesses can keep up with the changing workforce

(ECONOMIC) Trade schools are booming as career outlook grows. College enrollment is down. The workforce is changing. How can small business keep up?



Trade employees in the workforce

College enrollment has dropped off by three million in the last decade, with a drop-off of one million due in the last several years as a direct side effect of the Covid-19 pandemic. This phenomenon clearly does not bode well for the future of the United States’ economy and workforce, with students who attend low-income schools and come from low-income families being the most affected. These changes are disproportionately affecting students from low-income schools and families, the very people who need higher education the most, and are erasing much of the work done in the last decade to help close the income and race gap between students, colleges, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Enrollment in trade schools is skyrocketing.

Recently, trade schools have seen a 40% bump in enrollment across the board. Many students are enticed by the fact that trade schools are affordable and offer a quick turnaround, with students paying $16,000 or less for their program, and their training taking a year or less to complete. Beyond that, those who complete trade school is all but guaranteed a job on graduation day. Their earning potential is often two or even three times higher than the initial cost of attending the program. As many have found, the same cannot always be said about those who pursue a college education.

While the average cost of college at an in-state and public institution hovers at around $28,775 per year (according to Forbes) and takes an average of four years to complete means that trade students have a cheaper educational cost, (between $16,000 to $33,000 for the entire program, or about equal to just one year of a public college tuition) can get work in their field more quickly, and can usually make more than their educational costs in their first year on the job. Tradespeople make an average of $54,000 fresh out of trade school, which rivals the role average college student’s first salary of $55,000. It’s no wonder so many people are choosing to forgo a formal education for trade school!

The almost insurmountable cost of college combined with ever-growing inflation and a lengthy list of requirements just to get a post-college job, all for a low salary and with students having hefty loans to pay back, also play a key role in the downturn in the popularity of college.

The implication of fewer college-educated people, however, means that over time, the United States as a whole could face an economic downturn, as it gives rise to many more blue-collar workers. This can irrevocably alter the makeup of the workforce. Despite current unemployment rates being among the lowest they’ve ever been, the American people are already starting to see a shift in the labor market.

Already, we see a strain in the labor market when 25% of skilled workers in the U.S. exited the workforce following the Covid-19 pandemic. The economy has become so highly specialized that if the U.S. were to keep up the trend of losing college-educated workers, there could irreversible damage to the United States’ economy, deepening the ever-growing divide between the middle class and the working class, further reducing the ability to affect the global economy, knocking the United States out of the classification of a “global superpower.” To make matters worse, much of the United States labor pool is outsourced, and we are seeing the rise of artificial intelligence and robotics taking over many jobs, especially minimum wage jobs. While none of these factors alone vastly affect the U.S. labor market, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

So what can employers do when the makeup of the workforce starts to shift?

Employers could shift the focus on the years of experience rather than the type of education the potential employees have, as well as offering more extensive on-the-job training, which is already commonplace in some industries. Even for those with a college education, the requirements for entry-level jobs seldom match the salary, with many employers requiring a four-year degree, two or more years of experience, and fluency in different programs which vary from company to company. Employers, if possible, need to offer higher salaries with fewer requirements, as many young people are finding the pursuit of college, plus the various other requirements just to be considered for a barely above minimum wage job, while they’re drowning in student debt fruitless, so they forgo college altogether.

A post-pandemic society looks vastly different, and employers must adapt to keep up.

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Economic News

Boomers retirement may be the true reason behind the labor shortage

(ECONOMY) Millennials and Gen Z were quick to be blamed for the labor shortage, citing lazy work ethic- the cause could actually be Boomers retirement.



Older man pictured in cafe with laptop nearby representing boomers retirement discrimination.

In July, we reported on the Great Resignation. With record numbers of resignations, there’s a huge labor shortage in the United States. Although there were many speculations about the reasons why, from “lazy” millennials to the number of deaths from Covid. Just recently, CNN reported that in November another 3.6 million Americans left the labor force. It’s been suggested that the younger generations don’t want to work but retiring Boomers might be the bigger culprit.

Why Boomers are leaving the labor force

CNN Business reports that 90% of the Americans who left the workplace were over 55 years old. It’s now being suggested that many of the people who have left the labor force since the beginning of the pandemic were older Americans, not Millennials or Gen Z, as we originally thought. Here are the reasons why:

  • Boomers are more concerned about catching COVID-19 than their younger counterparts, so they aren’t returning to work. Boomers are less willing to risk their health.
  • The robust real estate market has benefitted Boomers, who have more equity in their homes. Boomers have more options on the table than just returning to work.
  • Employers aren’t creating or posting jobs that lure people out of retirement or those near retirement age.

As Boomers retire, how does this impact the overall labor economy?

According to CNN Business, there are signs that the labor shortage is abating. Employers are starting to see record number of applicants to most posted jobs. FedEx, for example, just got 111,000 applications in one week, the highest it has ever recorded. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the pandemic-induced increase in retirement is only temporary. People who retired due to the risk of the pandemic will return to work as new strategies emerge to reduce the risk to their health. With new varients popping up, we will have to keep an eye on how the trend ultimately plays out.

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Economic News

Is the real estate industry endorsing Carson’s nomination to HUD?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ben Carson’s initial appointment to HUD was controversial given his lack of experience in housing, but what is the pulse now?



NAR strongly backs Dr. Carson’s nomination

When President-Elect Donald Trump put forth Dr. Ben Carson’s name as the nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, NAR President William E. Brown said, “While we’ve made great strides in recent years, far more can be done to put the dream of homeownership in reach for more Americans.”

At the time of nomination, the National Association of Realtors (the largest trade organization in the nation) offered a positive tone regarding Dr. Carson and said the industry looks forward to working with him. But does that hold true today?

The confirmation hearings yesterday were far less controversial than one would expect, especially in light of how many initially reacted to his nomination. Given his lack of experience in housing, questions seemed to often center around protecting the LGBT community and veterans, both of which he pledged to support.

In fact, Dr. Carson said the Fair Housing Act is “one of the best pieces of legislation we’ve ever had in this country,” promising to issue a “world-class plan” for housing upon his confirmation…

>>>>>Click to continue reading…<<<<<


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