Residential Magazine

7 Tips to Build Realtor Relationships

Getting referrals from real estate agents is key to purchase business

By Jerry Kussy

In today’s market, mortgage professionals must build relationships with real estate agents to increase their purchase-loan business. Eventually, interest rates will start to increase, and refinances will decrease. At this point, purchase business will start to pick up, making established relationships with real estate agents invaluable.

Developing these partnerships require some basic steps that mortgage originators often forget. Here are seven simple tips to help mortgage brokers and originators get started building these future referral sources.

  1. Be proactive. For Realtors, it is frustrating when they have to contact you to see the status of a file. When a loan gets approved, an appraisal is completed or any other milestone occurs, you should be proactive and contact the agent with these updates. Don’t wait for someone to call you.
  2. Be honest. Real estate agents understand that not every lender can originate every loan. If an agent provides a loan scenario to you, don’t automatically say you can get it done. Perform your due diligence and see if it is a loan that fits your lender’s guidelines. If you are not confident you can get it closed, express that to the referral partner right away.
  3. Be accountable. If an issue arises on a loan file, don’t make excuses. Hold yourself or your lender accountable, and get to work on a solution. If a deal does go awry, don’t go into hiding. Even though it may be hard, you must talk over the problems and the next steps with the Realtor.
  4. Create value. The days of dropping off rate sheets and doughnuts in an office are becoming obsolete. Provide relevant information and education, but don’t try to sell the real estate agent.
  5. Look for connections. With technology playing a large part in sales these days, use social media to contact agents. For instance, if there is a specific agent you want to meet, use LinkedIn or Facebook to see if there is a mutual connection that could make an introduction.
  6. Do your homework. Websites like Trulia can help when you want to locate a real estate agent that can use a niche product that you offer. Realtors are more likely to speak with you if you have a product that fits the clientele that they concentrate on. For instance, if you have a strong jumbo-loan product, search for jumbo listings in your target areas and contact those agents concentrating on that product.
  7. Be prepared. All too often, originators finally will get in front of a real estate agent, but they won’t be ready. Create a short speech that explains how you want to help them grow their business and details your ideas for doing so. Try to arrange a meeting to go over these ideas. You will have more success this way.

The real estate industry always has been relationship driven. Whether you are a mortgage originator, real estate agent, attorney or appraiser, building relationships is what makes your business thrive. If you concentrate on these simple steps, you should build lasting and fruitful relationships with your referral partners.


  • Jerry Kussy

    Jerry A. Kussy is vice president of lending with Liberty Bank for Savings, a community bank in Chicago. Being in the mortgage industry for over 12 years as a loan officer and president of a local mortgage company, Kussy understands the importance of building referral relationships. In his current role at Liberty Bank for Savings, Kussy is involved with strategic planning for the lending department.

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