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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   March 2014

Take It One Program at a Time

Learning about new niche markets can make you more competitive

Keeping up with niche programs is one of the hardest things about working in the mortgage industry. When you sign on with a company, you may assume that you’ll use every available loan option. This is seldom the case, however, and usually only a few programs work to a person’s strengths — or so that person may think.

Mortgage professionals need not limit themselves. When it comes to niches, you can expand your offerings in five easy steps.

  1. Pick a program: Although the programs available to you depend on your location and company, there are many common threads. Some cities have their own downpayment assistance programs, for instance, and many states offer programs to help first-time homebuyers, move-up buyers and people seeking to live in certain areas. National programs are also available, such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Back to Work program, FHA Choice program and the FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage program. Find out what interests you and commit to learning more. Often, you must become an approved lender to participate in certain programs, but this generally requires filling out an application, paying a fee and taking some requisite training.
  2. Become a guru: Research, research, research. Learn as much as you can about a given program. Dive into the Internet. Call your program’s administrators. Many times, niche programs are underused, and officials have time to answer questions. Gather as much information as possible, and then organize it.
  3. Share your findings: Put together a presentation and share it with your co-workers. Offer to write a guest post on a popular real estate blog. Better yet, consider developing your own blog with details of your newfound knowledge. If you don’t know how to blog, there are plenty of tips online as to how to get started. The key takeaway is to put together an easy-to-understand presentation that Realtors and consumers will understand.
  4. Present to Realtors: Every Realtor wants to have a program in the back pocket to sell to clients. Just like mortgage professionals, they want to create demand. Once you have mastered a new program, don’t keep it a secret. Send e-mails, make phone calls and send out flyers. Pursue every opportunity to spread your newfound knowledge.
  5. Rinse and repeat: Just like any product launch, you want to go to market with your newfound niche and see if it works. If you get lots of interest, keep pushing. Meet with Realtors over breakfast and lunch. Go to the local real estate commission and ask to attend their monthly meetings. Look into radio and print advertising. If the niche you chose doesn’t yield much interest initially, you may be ahead of the market. Don’t give up on it, but begin to focus on your next niche program, as well. If you commit to learning one new program per month, you’ll have an immense advantage in knowledge over your competitors.

Ultimately, everyone’s goal is to generate more leads. With an honest commitment to learning a few niche programs, you’re almost guaranteed to get more people interested in your services. And aside from attracting new clients, you’ll also do more business with your current customers.  


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