Don’t Risk Losing Your Quality Loan Officers

As the summer months hit, along with midyear bonuses, it is not uncommon for loan officers to consider a move to the competition.  Even if they are not actively looking, recruiters are looking for them.  Mortgage executives that participated in the Mortgage Collaborative’s recently released biannual survey, The Pulse of the Mortgage Industry, listed staff retention at the top of the list of most critical issues for mortgage lenders.  As you can imagine, if staff retention is that urgent, then your competition is looking to hire as well. It becomes extremely important that your overall business strategy include a perspective that proactively supports the needs and expectations of your loan officers.  This is not a consideration to be put off until yearend, when it may actually be too late to keep your winning team intact. 

Do not let any lull in your application volume or business planning compel qualified loan officers to look elsewhere for employment. The mortgage industry has been running on overdrive, hitting a 15-year high in 2020 with $4.3 trillion in mortgage originations.  The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts a 14 percent drop in this year’s total origination volume, bringing us down around $3.28 trillion.  Although refinance activity is expected to drop, purchase volume is projected to break a new record at $1.67 trillion!  With purchase originations on the rise, your team of loan officers becomes even more valuable as their ability to cultivate and retain relationships is what will lead many of these purchase borrowers to your institution.  

Whether focused on relationships, referrals, and/or technology, winning loan officers leverage success tactics that draw from these areas because this is how they excel for the long term. With half of the year behind us, many mortgage operations are busy tweaking processes and systems to accommodate forthcoming third and fourth quarter production.  However, the CRM, which is certainly a mainstay in this effort, is rarely developed or evolved with the loan officer as a primary consideration.  This can create misalignment in ensuring consistency in utilization and more importantly lead to a gap in relationship and referral data. Loan officers are persistent and astute so will find ways to tap the CRM, but even with automated emails and communication, many rely on individually sent emails, text messaging and phone calls, which although more personalized, are not nearly as traceable. So how can management ensure alignment and transparency in terms of relationships, referrals and technology?

Envision an innovative technology platform that can be branded to your valued loan officers, and simultaneously offer a meaningful approach that fosters relationships and expands referral business…. without spending additional time in pursuit of this effort.  Complimentary to CRM platforms, which market a database by producing a myriad of semi-generic automated communications, is HomeBinder.  Delivering a unique centralized home management platform, HomeBinder provides property-specific communication, actionable maintenance, and document storage that is readily accessible through a private-label, mobile-friendly portal.

How does this promote loan officer retention?  HomeBinder uses sophisticated automation to systematize and assimilate valued relationships with the professionals that regularly interact with homebuyers.  This methodology builds an ever-expanding referral network that supports the homeowner throughout the life of the property, creating a genuine “Client for Life”.  Gifted to the homeowner by the loan officer, for as little as $7 per loan, the branded loan officer forever remains top of mind. No more ongoing communication, follow-ups or tickler systems, the homeowner is regularly reminded of the relationship with their valued loan officer as they are prompted to complete maintenance, presented with educational information, or access key household documents, all through the HomeBinder platform.   

This is a genuine business differentiator that allows loan officers to focus on developing new relationships and supporting applicants through closing, while existing homebuyers flourish into repeat business and inherently produce more referrals.  To find out more about the HomeBinder revolutionary approach to homeowner engagement and the “Client for Life” opportunity, visit us at www.homebinder.com, or contact us directly at 800.377.6915.  HomeBinder Expected by Homeowners Driven by Lenders

Easy Ways to Add Value to Your Home

With the arrival of summer, homeowners may want to spruce up their home. It is common for homeowners to make changes to their houses to increase the comfort level and make their homes look better. These changes may be based on personal taste or they may be to make their home life more convenient. In many cases, these improvements add value to the home. Smart homeowners make their upgrades based on these value-added changes. They prioritize how they are going to improve their homes based on the changes that will make their home worth more. One of the main ways to determine if a change will add value is to consider what room you are improving. Carrying out some home improvements to your home not only increase the functionality and usability of your home, if the right improvements are carried out then you can also add value to your home. Whether you want to add value to your home to sell it or just to update your home for your own pleasure, here are easy ideas you can do to add value to your home:

Do a Paint Job

Without a doubt, the easiest and quickest way to update the look of your home is to paint it. Painting the exterior and interior of your home can make it look newer, cleaner, and more stylish. Pay attention to the latest design trends to see which colors are hottest right now. A fresh coat of paint attracts buyers and adds value to your home. It may seem simple, but if you are selling a property, you initially have to get buyers through the front door. This means that the outside of the property should look smart and as attractive as possible

Create a New Kitchen Feel

This is perhaps one of the simplest ways to recreate a room. The kitchen is generally seen as the focal point in any house, and small improvements can make a big difference. Most people do not realize the major bang for the buck that swapping out hardware can create. Do a kitchen make over, you can do re-tiling or add cabinets. Nothing attracts people more than a modernized kitchen with attractive drawers and a big spotless sink. Changing the handles on your cabinets can bring an outdated kitchen back into the right decade. Equally, cabinets should be cleaned up wherever possible, or replaced if beyond repair. There are now options to simply replace the fascia above cabinets, rather than install a brand new kitchen, so this may be worth considering. Before viewings, ensure that any personal clutter is removed, allowing visitors to gage the space accurately.

Curb Appeal is Key

The truth is that the curb appeal of your home is probably one of the most influential factors in its value, as the curb appeal will increase its perceived value – thereby increasing its actual value. If you want to raise the value of your home, fixing it up and making it look nice is one of the best ways to make it more valuable and appealing to those that are going to buy it. While fixing up the inside and outside of the house is important, the property itself will also go a long way towards the sale of the house. Do landscaping and if possible, plant trees. If you have a yard with walkways, backyard structures such as a gazebo, beautifully cared for grass, flowers and gardens, trees, and all the other beautiful landscaping elements, your attention would no doubt be divided between the house and the outside. Even if the house isn’t perfect, most people will be interested in the home due to the beautiful landscape.

Improve the Inside

Consider improving the wall, floor, and window insulation. You do not have to resort to super expensive solutions. Cork wall tiles and insulating curtains can do a good job. Making your heating system more energy efficient is highly recommended.

Change the Windows

The windows should match the house as it is now, and should be in keeping with the age and style your home. Don’t be tempted to install brand new white PVC windows in an older-style property; it can actually be detrimental to the value of the house. Generally speaking, if the windows are in good condition, concentrate on cleaning up the paintwork on the windowsills and surrounds.

Improve Your Lighting

Instead of using basic lamps, add accent lighting to your home. Track lights or spotlights can be purchased and installed at budget-friendly prices while adding visual appeal to your space.

Make Use of Every Available Space

There are several ways to make use of available spaces in your home. The available space under your stairs can be useful by turning it into a closet where you can put extra books, papers or cleaning equipment. Home buyers will be glad to have a place to store extra household items. You can readily use these rooms traditionally meant for storage to create functional areas in the home. The attic can be turned into a spacious family room, TV room, kids’ room or a playroom. The basement can be modified into a functional study.

Change or Make New Flooring

Installing a new floor or giving some TLC to the one you already have can significantly increase your home’s value. It’s easy to overlook your floors. You use them every day without a second thought. However, the flooring can play a huge role in the overall functionality, look, and value of your home. If you feel like your house is looking a little worn around the edges, or if you want to increase its value, redoing your floors is a great choice.

Add Additional Bathroom

If you have only one bathroom, adding one or two is a very good idea. If you only have one bathroom in your home, the installation of a second one is definitely going to pay dividends. Although bathroom additions tend to be expensive, the money you put into the project can be almost entirely recouped when it comes time to sell. Before getting started, you would need to find a good spot for it. You can start looking at any room that has no designated purpose, like a spare bedroom. The space under the stairs is usually unused and left to go to waste. You need 18 square feet for a bathtub, as a minimum, but the more space you have the better. You need to look carefully to make sure the space you want to use is going to give you the bathroom that you want. If you have several bedrooms, then it is necessary to add enough bathrooms to cater to the needs of the occupants. It is not necessary to build an extension; simply using available space in your home will do the trick.

Do You Have a Plan to Engage Borrowers Post Forbearance?

As we all watch mortgage forbearance numbers tumble, are we missing an opportunity?  The forbearance peak in May of 2020 represented well over four million mortgages, so approximately the same number of homeowners.  Here we are a full year later and we are at half of the forbearance volume, with BlackKnight reporting 2.2 million in forbearance, representing 4.2 percent of homeowners.  Approximately 2.5 percent of these homeowners have mortgages with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, 7.4 percent have Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Veterans Administration (VA) mortgages, and 4.8 percent represent portfolio or private-label securities (PLS). 

You have to ask yourself where are those two plus million homeowners and how are they doing now?  According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Mike Fratantoni, senior vice president and chief economist, those making payments, approximately 25.3 percent, are performing at near pre-COVID rates.  As a mortgage servicer do you know who these homeowners are? This population called and queried their servicers non-stop starting in March of 2020.  They were struggling to determine “what next” when they didn’t have confidence in their capacity to make mortgage payments and keep their home safe.  For many homeowners, this was the beginning of a meaningful relationship with their servicer, and more than five hundred thousand are now performing with more to follow.  This is an opportunity ripe with potential!  

There are of course many more homeowners in forbearance, who will not be in a performing status for quite some time.  “More than 47 percent of borrowers in forbearance extensions are past the 12-month (delinquency) mark as of the end of April,” according to Fratantoni. Forbearance and payment deferral options, as well as foreclosure moratoriums will dissipate, leaving these homebuyers in your default servicing queue.  Servicers have however become extremely proficient in managing distressed borrowers, whether due to pandemic impact, natural disaster, or economic influence.  As these homeowners modify and come current, they will join the performing loan group.

These are opportunities ripe with potential!  Running a query on which homeowners have recovered from a nonpayment or delinquent status for three or more months, and then connecting with them in a meaningful way is how you build a “Client for Life”. It is also a method for instilling consistent payment habits going forward, minimizing complaint scenarios, and building rapport and referrals.  HomeBinder represents a simple process for executing meaningful engagement with these homeowners, and:

  • Is easily implemented and offered to homeowners. 
  • Provides a tech-savvy, forward-thinking benefit.
  • Legitimately helps your clients become better homeowners.
  • Exemplifies their importance to you as a client…. for life.

HomeBinder is a value-add for the servicer.  It creates a constant self-serve touch point for your portfolio of homeowners, while it educates and encourages the homeowner to maintain the collateral.  A digital platform that replaces old school file folders, notebook binders and even shoe boxes that homeowners have historically used to store the essential documents tied to their home. Homebinder replaces this antiquated approach to home management and much more – It is a gift that says “thank you” for your business and forges a sophisticated relationship between the servicer and homeowner.  Bringing together a collaboration of home service professionals, HomeBinder builds valued relationships amongst the parties that interact with homebuyers, from servicers to insurance providers.  This partnership is leveraged to promote personalized customer engagement at minimal cost to the servicer.  At the same time the servicer is able to offer homeowners a valuable automated support platform that extends throughout the homeownership lifecycle, not solely the life of the loan. 

As forbearance numbers continue to drop, make sure you have not overlooked a key segment of your portfolio.  Connect with us today to find out more about this revolutionary approach to homeowner engagement and retention. Visit us at www.homebinder.com, or contact us directly at 800.377.6915. 

HomeBinder ● Expected by Homeowners ● Driven by Lenders

HomeBinder and The Mortgage Firm Have Partnered To Accelerate Borrower Retention

Forging a unique partnership, The Mortgage Firm borrowers now have access to the revolutionary HomeBinder platform, during and beyond the life of a mortgage loan.

BURLINGTON, MA, May 18, 2021 – HomeBinder is a leading home management platform provider that centralizes documents, projects, maintenance, home valuation, access to home professionals, and more.  These capabilities are uniquely designed to provide homeowners peace of mind, maximize home value, optimize the ownership experience, as well as enable businesses servicing the homeowner to create a true “Client for Life” experience.  

Coupled with the quality and expertise of The Mortgage Firm, borrowers will have the exclusive opportunity to access the HomeBinder cloud platform to centrally store all closing documents and holistically manage all aspects of home ownership.  The Mortgage Firm is collaborating with HomeBinder to deliver a sophisticated, interactive homeownership process that is beneficial for the borrower and the lender.  The Mortgage Firm and HomeBinder partnership will instill confidence throughout the loan lifecycle, beginning with the loan officer and extending throughout servicing. 

For lenders serving the residential homebuyers’ market, who want to deliver a true “wow” factor that will differentiate their offering, HomeBinder is an automated, tech-forward means to create immediate brand loyalty. “We instantly realized the HomeBinder difference,” said Todd Pierson, President of The Mortgage Firm. “Our partnership will enable The Mortgage Firm to easily deliver HomeBinder’s home management platform without adding any time to our loan officers’ day, and establish a lifetime loyalty campaign for our borrowers,” added Pierson. The Mortgage Firm will automatically provide a HomeBinder to all borrowers as a digital closing gift containing all mortgage closing documentation, helping to enhance the loan experience, improve borrower retention after closing, and increase referrals.

This exciting new affiliation further affirms the growing demand from mortgage lenders to achieve meaningful, long-term client engagement beyond the closing of the loan. “HomeBinder is excited to partner with The Mortgage Firm, as we both understand the value of educating and supporting homeowners throughout their journey of ownership,” said Jack Huntress, CEO of HomeBinder.  “Together we are taking a monumental step towards evolving industry collaboration and innovation.”

HomeBinder ● Expected by Homeowners ● Driven by Lenders

About The Mortgage Firm

Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, The Mortgage Firm has been providing quality real estate financing for over 20 years. With a proven track record, we serve the lending needs of real estate professionals, builders and individual homebuyers.  Our qualified and licensed professionals offer expertise in every area of mortgage lending:  We have access to a full range of mortgage sources and all of our lending specialists are dedicated to finding the right loan with the best rate, terms and cost to meet your unique needs. But that’s just the beginning. Throughout the lending process, our talented staff will provide regular updates and progress reports, so you know exactly where you stand, in person or online.

About HomeBinder

HomeBinder is a home management platform that provides homeowners peace of mind and maximizes home value.  HomeBinder is offered exclusively through business partners serving residential homeowners, enabling them to deliver long term value to clients, remain top of mind, and generate referrals.  Our select business partnerships include home inspectors, mortgage lenders, insurance providers, home service providers, property managers, builders and real estate professionals. Founded in 2012, HomeBinder currently serves all fifty States and Canada, and is based in Burlington, MA. For more information on how to create true clients for life, visit www.Homebinder.com.

Media Contact:

Contact: Peter Paglia

Email: Send Email

Phone (978) 618-0835

MAY 2021 PARTNER NEWSLETTER

WHAT’S NEW

Coming Soon…HomeBinder Platform Makeover Enhances User Experience!

We’re excited to announce a new version of the homeowner platform that will optimize the user experience and increase homeowner engagement with their HomeBinder.  The enhancements we’re releasing provide peace of mind and maximum home value to homeowners for what is likely their largest asset.  

Some highlights of the homeowner dashboard include:

  • Version 2.0 of our innovative home valuation tool that enables homeowners to run “what-if” scenarios to understand the impact investments or home improvements could have on value and equity 
  • A brand new Action Center to better organize and alert homeowners about essential maintenance items
  • New and improved navigation and workflows with an optimized user interface
  • An enhanced Home Professional Network search capability to connect homeowners to trusted professionals added by real estate agents, lenders, insurance providers  and inspectors

The new dashboard is targeted to be available in July.  If you are interested in learning more, getting a sneak preview of the dashboard, or have suggestions that could be a valuable addition for your clients, please contact sales@homebinder.com.

New Integration Enables Automated Upload of Appliance Information 

Announcing a new integration with our partner Source7 (www.source7.io). Source7’s AI is built on a foundation of household product intelligence and developed out of a need to assist numerous industries such as insurance, property management, home warranty, home monitoring, and many others with identifying common weaknesses in household products that increase risk in a home. 

This new integration will enable homeowners to simply take a picture of any appliance data plate and upload it to their HomeBinder. Partners such as inspectors and other home professionals can also auto-populate appliance data on behalf of the homeowner. The homeowner will automatically be alerted to recalls for appliances in their HomeBinder. As well, this data can also feed the home valuation estimate as recent purchases of appliances can increase the valuation inside the home. 

Sample interface:

HOMEBINDER TIPS/BEST PRACTICES 

As we all know, this is a highly competitive real estate market nationwide. To differentiate themselves and build relationships with real estate agents, our partners utilize HomeBinder to help to capture greater mindshare among agents and generate more referrals. 

Now the nearly 190,000 agents that have been added to HomeBinder by our partners have a profile where they can populate important information, such as trusted home professionals, into homeowners’ binders. This helps to create a lasting relationship between the homeowner and agent, and has been proven to generate referrals back to our partners.

HomeBinder provides all the necessary marketing collateral, such as flyers, videos and email templates to make it easy to educate agents and homeowners of the value of HomeBinder. 

Sample of collateral:

For more information or examples of marketing collateral, please contact support@homebinder.com.

IN THE NEWS

Webinar Recording: Home Inspection Pro Office Integration with HomeBinder

Home Inspectors: In case you missed it …. Here is a link to a recent webinar that HomeBinder and Home Inspection Pro (HIP) delivered. Home Inspector Pro’s Marketing Director Kayla Sterner, and Director of Support Dan McConnon talk with HomeBinder about how it can help your business and how it integrates with Home Inspector Pro Office.

 

Recent Blog Post: How Do You Leverage the CFPB to Retain Homebuyers?

First-time buyers currently represent nearly a third of the homeownership market. As the market is evolving, so are borrower expectations, necessitating a fresh look at consumer engagement and the resources that are available to help meet current needs. This post by Pete Paglia is designed to give a better understanding of what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) communicates to homebuyers, and identifies how using this educational guidance can help improve lender credibility within respective borrower communities.