Tips for Rookies as They Develop Their Network of Trusted Partners

One of the first things you will want to do in your first year in the business is to develop a network of lenders that you know and trust. Developing a go-to relationship with a lender or small handful of lenders is going to be a key to your overall success as an agent.Remember: Having multiple lenders that you have a relationship with will reduce your business risk in case something happens to one of them. Especially in today’s market, “life happens.” If you rely only on one lender, you may find yourself without a trusted advisor should something happen to that particular lender.When interviewing lenders to become a trusted referral partner, here are five simple questions to ask that will help you know what you really want to know, which is: Can I trust my clients with this person?


When Do You Answer Your Phone?
You might be surprised by the wide variety of answers you will get to this question. The important thing about the answer is not whatever the loan officer answers, but if the answer is what you are looking for. If they tell you that they are available on a 24/7 basis, when you need them on Saturday at 9am and they don’t answer, that is a problem. But if they tell you that they only answer during “normal business hours,” then you know what to expect.How Long Does It Take to Get a Loan Status Report?
When you send a client to speak with a loan officer, how long does it take for the loan officer to pre-qualify the client and issue a loan status report? Again, this is more about expectations. If the loan officer tells you “next day,” you know what to expect. If they tell you 20 minutes, then you also know what to expect.How Many Loans Do You Fund Each Month?
This will give you an idea of how active the loan officer is. There is no right or wrong answer, but you will want to have an idea of how busy they are so that you can understand the world they live in a little bit better. A loan officer who funds 30 loans a month has an entirely different job/life than a loan officer who funds 2 loans a month—and neither one is necessarily better than the other.How Long Have You Been in the Business?
This will give you a good idea of what kind of experience they have. Don’t let them just say “five years.” Have them explain about their experience at different companies, what types of job descriptions they had, and what they did and didn’t like about each one.How Long Are You Going to Be in the Business?
Leave the most surprising question for last. By asking the loan officer this question, you will be able to find out rather quickly whether or not it is a relationship that makes business sense to invest in. What good is a great loan officer if he leaves the business for some reason? Save this question for last—and make sure you read the loan officer’s body language when you first ask it. Many times their body language will say it all, regardless of what they actually “say.”And if the loan officers tell you that over the last few years they haven’t thought about getting out of the business completely? I will bet you a Diet Pepsi they are lying.

About the Author

Michelle Lind

K. Michelle Lind, CEO of Arizona REALTORS®, is also an attorney, State Bar of Arizona board certified real estate specialist, and the author of Arizona Real Estate: A Professional’s Guide to Law and Practice. Please note that this article is of a general nature and may not be updated or revised for accuracy as statutory or case law changes following the date of first publication. Further, this article reflects only the opinion of the author, is not intended as definitive legal advice and you should not act upon it without seeking independent legal counsel.