Success for commercial mortgage brokers comes down to not just working hard, but working smart. A combination of a strong work ethic and common sense will serve any broker well, regardless of the types of commercial loans they seek to close.
Developing a prosperous and secure business will require high standards for yourself and your work. It also will require that you have a sense of what brings in new business, a thorough knowledge of the commercial mortgage industry and any niches in which you specialize, as well as solid time-management skills.
These traits will establish you as a credible and capable broker. They will demonstrate that you are able to deliver great results for both borrowers and lenders.
One of the most important factors for any mortgage broker looking to demonstrate their skill and competence within the commercial mortgage industry is to show that they possess strong values, such as honesty, integrity and a robust work ethic.
For many small-business owners, finding commercial financing can be a challenge, particularly if they’ve had past financial issues or are looking for a non-conforming or small-balance mortgage. In these instances, they will often need to hire a mortgage broker in order to obtain a loan. These borrowers are going to want to work with a broker who is honest with them, not just about how much their services will cost, but about what kind of mortgage they’re likely to qualify for and what it will take to close the deal.
Likewise, non-conforming commercial lenders are looking to work with mortgage brokers who are upfront about their clients’ needs and any challenges they have faced in the past. They’ll also want to know that the broker is willing to go the extra mile when necessary and appropriate to get a mortgage closed.
A great way to demonstrate your dedication and thoroughness early on in the lending process is to speak to the lender about what they’ll need to review a loan scenario and underwrite a commercial mortgage, and then provide all of that information to them as quickly as possible.
A crucial piece of your success as a commercial mortgage broker will be the ability to market yourself, acquire new borrowers and maintain strong relationships with your referral sources. Whether you focus on more traditional marketing, such as print advertising or mailers, or you are turning to digital marketing via social media, you need to understand what both potential clients and referral sources are looking for, and then advertise appropriately to these groups.
Smart marketing for commercial mortgage brokers will focus on how you can help the target audience address a need. For borrowers, the goal is to obtain a small-balance commercial mortgage in order to refinance or purchase a property. When you’re marketing to borrowers, it’s a great idea to tell them stories.
Send them e-mails about the obstacles you’ve helped other borrowers to overcome when closing a deal. Write posts for your social media channels that focus on the variety of properties and situations for which you’ve been able to secure funding. Learning about how you’ve helped other borrowers to achieve a goal will make prospective clients more likely to work with you.
When it comes to referral sources, mortgage brokers should focus on two things: marketing to the right financial professionals and emphasizing how their services will be a benefit to the referral sources. Generally, the best referral sources for small-balance commercial borrowers will be accountants, Realtors and banks.
Banks are always looking for ways to preserve relationships with customers, and if they can’t fund a deal, having access to an outlet for alternative financing helps. Realtors are constantly seeking a multitude of funding sources so that they don’t lose sales because a prospective buyer can’t obtain a mortgage from a traditional lender. Accountants have a thorough knowledge of each client’s financial situation, so they know who won’t be able to obtain a bank loan.
These financial professionals all have a vested interest in being able to provide their clients with the means to attain a commercial mortgage when necessary, so you simply need to demonstrate that you can help them to do so. This can be as simple as regular calls or e-mails letting sources know about deals you’ve closed and reminding them that you can make yourself available to their clients.
In order to approach the commercial mortgage industry with common sense, it’s important to learn everything you can about the various niches within it. Whether you’re planning on specializing in a certain type of commercial mortgage or closing various kinds of deals, you need to educate yourself. Learning about the commercial mortgage industry will benefit not only you, but also the lenders and borrowers with whom you do business.
Take the time to read industry publications and blogs to learn about the latest trends and regulations in the commercial mortgage business. Join forums, both online and in person, to discuss best practices and strategy with other professionals. Talk to the lenders you would most like to do business with and ask them if they provide resources for mortgage brokers looking to learn more about their products and the industry at large. These will all be valuable resources for brokers interested in learning all that they can about the commercial mortgage business.
Learning how to properly utilize your time throughout each work day might not seem like the most important part of succeeding as a commercial mortgage broker, but it’s a crucial skill to develop. You need to value your time, your borrowers’ time and your lenders’ time in order to take advantage of the opportunities each day presents.
Simply giving yourself a schedule every day is a great start for managing your time wisely. Set aside portions of your days for returning phone calls and e-mails, reviewing new and current loan scenarios, sending out some form of marketing via social media or e-mail, and contacting potential borrowers and referral sources.
You’ll want to leave yourself with some free time for the unexpected. Adopting a basic plan for your workdays, however, is an excellent way to ensure that you’re being as productive as possible.
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Advancing in your career as a commercial mortgage broker requires discipline, focus and drive. You must be able to prove to lenders and borrowers that you have honesty, integrity and a comprehensive knowledge of the industry.
You also need to market your skills appropriately — and with your audience in mind — while making sure you manage your time properly each day to ensure the maximum amount of efficiency. With hard work and common sense, you can develop the necessary skills to sell your services, close more loans and earn additional income.
A version of this article was originally published in the August 2017 commercial edition of Scotsman Guide.