|While many originators find it quite a challenge to get the attention of real estate agents and gain their confidence, originators with one Atlanta-based mortgage company already have it.
Based on a market share ratio, HomeBanc Mortgage ranked No. 1 when real estate brokers and agents were asked what lender they prefer to recommend to their homebuying customers, according to the survey entitled How Real Estate Agents View Relationships with Lenders.
The survey, conducted by marketing and research firm Campbell Communications of Washington, D.C., during April, reportedly gathered the responses of over 1,300 real estate agents and independent brokers.
The share ratio is a normalizing ranking that takes into account the vast geographic and national market share differences between national and regional industry players that brokers and agents prefer. Although nationwide lenders such as Countrywide or Wells Fargo may get more referrals, HomeBanc “far exceeded” what was expected given its market share, said John Campbell, president of Campbell Communications. HomeBanc reportedly currently originates loans principally in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina.
The broker and agent responses revealed that the top five reasons for referring one mortgage lender over another were: “Good relationship with loan officer;” “Reliable pre-approval letters; ” “Reliable meeting closing date;” “Competitive rates;” and “Matches homebuyer to the right loan program,” in that order, reported HomeBanc.
“These findings prove that for real estate professionals and their home-buying customers, a good experience in the mortgage process is about more than the lowest rate,” said HomeBanc chairman and CEO Patrick Flood, in a written statement. “It’s about service, communication and a consultative approach that gets the buyer the right mortgage that closes on time so the buyer can move in on schedule. That’s the kind of customer service on which HomeBanc Mortgage has built our business.”
Mary Wargula, managing broker of a Prudential Georgia Realty branch in Atlanta, told MortgageDaily.com that since forming an alliance with HomeBanc three years ago, no complaints have been made on behalf of Prudential customers that get home loans with the lender.
“Whatever HomeBanc does is reflective of our service,” Wargula said. “We expect excellent client services. I rate [HomeBanc] as absolutely 99.9% out of 100%. They work on a service excellence platform and they are very serious about it.”
A history of zero complaints “doesn’t happen very often,” she said, adding that Prudential has broken alliances with two other lenders whose services did not measure up to its expectations.
Choosing one lender over another can lead to detrimental consequences for the reputations and business of real estate brokers and agents.
The survey indicated 12% of home purchase transactions must be rescheduled due to mortgage issues and another 4% never make it to closing, Campbell Communications reported.
The top four issues delaying closings, in order were: “Underwriting delays” — cited by 73% of respondents, “Appraisal delays,” “Homebuyer denied mortgage with initial lender,” and “HUD-1 not available one day in advance of closing,” the marketing and research firm said.
As far as causes for failed home purchase transactions, the No. 1 reason was “Homebuyer denied mortgage,” but another significant reason that 30% of respondents identified was “Seller unwilling to extend closing for mortgage delays,” Campbell reported. The responses also showed that approximately 10% of pre-approval letters turn out to be invalid, where applicant income or credit have not been sufficiently verified, and that mortgage brokers were the No. 1 offender of this problem.
“Behind these statistics are deep frustrations that real estate agents have with the mortgage process,” said Tom Popik, principal of Geosegment Systems and designer of the survey, in a written statement. “We know from comments that agents have given us, both in survey development and from the survey, that agents have long memories and big mouths when a mortgage provider causes a transaction to fail.”
Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for MortgageDaily.com.