Here we are, approaching the beginning of March and likely everyone we are going to close in the first quarter of the year is already in our pipeline or currently looking to make an offer. Staying in front of your numbers helps you keep your business in front of you and provides an opportunity to react and make changes in time to prevent the “valleys of production” often experienced in our business. I have always maintained that you can best improve overall performance by not focusing on the top part of your business, or growing your best month’s production; but rather by focusing on raising your lower months higher and allowing the top months to just happen as a result of doing the right things consistently. When you focus on your best month ever, it can often come at the expense of prior and following months, and cause a group of consecutive months to average out to a really weak total.
I try to keep my people focused on the “Expert Gap” at all times. Understanding that as loan professionals, we make a clear choice every day to either be an expert or a salesperson. Nothing wrong with being a salesperson, it just becomes a long term struggle to press that sales mentality out into the public when most people hate being sold! By focusing on becoming the local expert, you create a gap between you and your competition. This “Expert Gap” grows each day as those in your specific market come to understand the value in working with a true professional.
A clear representation of this “Expert Gap” comes now in the form of closing times on residential purchases as many in our industry struggle to close loans on a timely basis. Recently, Ellie Mae® has come out with a report that the average closing time on residential purchase mortgages has grown to 50 days on a conforming loan, and as much as 53 days on a VA loan. The self-fulfilling prophesy the industry has put out there since TRID came to us is that contracts needed to be 45 to 60 days to allow for the added work complying with TRID. As you well know, I have spent the last year and a half pushing my agenda that no such time frame was needed, and that all loan professionals had to do was get “BETTER” at their jobs by doing the work up-front with a client and preparing them and their referral partners on how to still close transactions in 30 days or less with TRID in place. I am happy to say, all around the country, originators who took this advice and got better and more professional, are seeing the benefits of “The Expert Gap”. Those professionals I am working with are averaging 22 days from receipt of contract to issuing the CD.
This is a significant difference that referral partners and customers are beginning to see. Even listing agents and sellers are starting to notice that a true full document pre-approval issued by a true loan professional that will close in 30 days or less, represents a significant value over those who can’t. And while some companies are spending millions of dollars advertising some sort of space loan that can be done in ten minutes; referral partners and customers are quickly finding out that a ten minute computer program can’t prepare a borrower with all of their options, and may even send people out into the market with a worthless piece of paper!
Local experts are now more important than ever. Speed in the pre-approval process is a lot like a fast surgeon; you don’t need it fast, you need it done correctly. The speed in the mortgage process can’t possibly happen at pre-approval. It can only come after and expert has examined all the information and discussed all the options before the customer begins the process. With a solid full document pre-approval done by a qualified local EXPERT, borrowers and the real estate professionals involved in a transaction can safely show property, accept offers, and schedule 30 day closings without fear of delays or worse, deals that die because the borrower was never really “Qualified” in the first place,
The “Expert Gap” is very real and growing each day. As I talk to my clients around the country, more and more of them are being invited to meet with realtors® and other referral partners they have never connected with in the past, or who were involved for the first time in a recent transaction, to come and share with them how their local expertise gets transactions to the table and closed, faster and with less hassle than other mortgage people. There is a growing demand for speed in the mortgage industry. But it’s not by going to space by providing a ten minute guess as to what the person might be able to do. Speed in the mortgage arena comes from a local professional doing a thorough job working with the customer in the very beginning to review all the information and helping that client make an informed choice! You can close loans very quickly when you do a great job of preparation. Experts invest their time upfront, so the total experience for the customer is better, with the speed coming from contract to closing!