Keys to Honing the Negotiation Skills of Mortgage Sales Professionals

Today’s selling environment presents mortgage sales professionals with many challenges. For most of us, our entire day is spent influencing, persuading, leading, and negotiating to move another person from a state of indecision to one of decision. Mortgage is a high trust transaction. Anything we say to a potential client who doesn’t trust us, is met with resistance. When what we do is help borrowers make choices that are in their best interests and for which, without our knowledge and influence, they would not have the ability to make on their own, we must learn the skill of quickly building trust. If we can’t connect, we can’t convince.

In today’s environment, borrowers have more sources of information, there are more people involved in the loan transaction, and there is a more structured process—all of which make obtaining a mortgage loan a complex and often chaotic endeavor. Borrowers used to value loan officers for our availability, as well as for our ability to provide program options and quote pricing, but borrowers today are looking for something they can’t get online, from automated systems, or from uninformed salespeople.

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Psychological Impact of the Recession and Housing Recovery

By all accounts, being a homeowner is seen by most as a sign of great accomplishment and success. Where we live affects our perceptions of self-esteem, perceived control of our environment, and financial security. Its interesting to see the results of a Harvard Study on Reexamining the Social Benefits of Homeownership after the Housing Crisis where despite the sufferings of foreclosure, owning a home remains an important desire for many Americans.

During the recent recession, home values fell dramatically, resulting in massive decreases in household wealth. Homeowner equity reached an all-time high of $13.5 trillion in 2006, but by 2009, had fallen to $6.2 trillion. Mass unemployment made it difficult for many to make their mortgage payments and to adequately maintain or repair their homes and many suffered the negative psychological emotions of foreclosure including anxiety, stress, fear, hopelessness, depression and embarrassment.

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Reducing Your Monthly Payment When Your Existing Mortgage is Underwater

Many clients come to me complaining that they’ve been trying to get a loan modification for years and they keep getting denied. All they want to do is reduce the interest rate on their current loan. When property values declined and they found they were upside down on their debt, lenders told them they weren’t eligible for regular refinancing options. When they contacted their loan servicer to be considered for a loan modification, they learned they were not eligible for the program because they had not undergone financial hardship and were making timely payments on their mortgage. While the rest of the country was able to refinance into new loans with lower monthly payments, these borrowers were stuck with higher payments.

They’d ask, “What are we supposed to do? Stop paying our mortgage so that we qualify? This doesn’t make sense.” No, it doesn’t make sense and there is a solution. In 2009, the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) was developed exactly for this transaction scenario.

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Can the Mortgage Industry Provide Good Customer Service?

I was at the NAMB conference for Mortgage Professionals this past weekend in Las Vegas and in between sessions, I stopped in for a quick bite at The Burger Bar at Mandalay Place (great sweet potato fries!). I sat at the bar and had an interesting conversation with the gentleman who sat to my right. We quickly identified that we were both in town for professional conferences. He lives in Maryland and is a consultant for government affairs. Part of his duties include auditing banks, and as such he is limited to where he can choose to make mortgage loan application as there can be no appearance of influence.

He began sharing with me his current saga in dealing with one of the big three.  I of course, was fascinated to hear about the challenges he is facing.  He selected this particular lender because he is cost driven.  He had initially approached his former mortgage banker with whom his prior transactions had gone smoothly – including construction financing – but decided not to proceed with him on this new loan because he was able to “secure” financing at a .125% reduction with one of the big three. He quickly told me how his credit score is over 780, its a jumbo loan, both he and his wife are employed and how he expected the process to go smoothly.

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10 Key Attributes of Trustworthy Loan Officers

At some point in our lives, each of us must make application for a home loan. This once cumbersome process has become further complicated by new laws that are affecting every facet of mortgage banking. With the January 2014 rollout of the Qualified Mortgage rule, some lender’s restrict their borrower’s to a maximum debt-to-income (DTI) ratio of 43%, while other lenders allow their borrowers to have a much higher capacity for debt based on characteristics of the loan file.  Because of this and many other changes in the way mortgage loans are processed and approved, we can now officially say goodbye to the days where lender selection was based mostly on who had the lowest interest rate and costs. In today’s complex environment, an informed borrower will ask more detailed questions based on the lender’s particular eligibility standards and their ability to close the transaction within the time period as specified on the property sales contract.

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