A trusted real estate agent could be
a loan officer’s best friend. A survey, commissioned by Freddie
Mac in advance of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) annual conference
in Orlando, found there is a strong symbiotic relationship between the two
professions and it is one lenders would do well to nourish.
Freddie Mac found that real estate
professionals tend to refer their home-buying clients to a select group of
lenders and they chose those lenders based on the ease of doing business with
them, their reputations, and the strength of those relationships.
Eighty-four percent of agents say
they maintain such a lender list and it tends to be a select one. Almost three-quarters
refer clients to only one to three lenders.
The remainder work with four to six.
The real estate professionals hold
sway with their customers; 76 percent say their clients always or often use
their recommended lender referrals. This figure climbs to 87 percent among
those who sell more than 20 properties per year.
The survey also sought to identify
the challenges the agents face in growing their businesses and their views on
their role in the homebuying process. More than 80 percent say their clients
trust their knowledge of the local area and to expose them to the houses that
meet their needs. Seventy-eight percent
see their role as an advisor capable of helping homebuyers navigate the experience.
However, only 35 percent said their
clients really understand the process and only 38 percent said their clients
would rely on them for referrals to housing counseling. Less than half felt
fully confident in their ability to education borrowers about getting and
mortgage and only 30 percent felt they could provide sufficient assistance with
Among the top challenges agents felt
they faced in their job were attracting potential buyers and sellers (each at
55 percent) and selling within the planned timeline (32 percent). The top
challenges they experience with potential clients were the lack of available
homes in appropriate price ranges 55 percent), unrealistic expectations of what
they can afford (52 percent), insufficient money for a down payment (42 percent)
poor credit (38 percent) and the aforementioned lack of understanding of home
buying (35 percent.)
“The survey reaffirms just how
important real estate professionals are to families throughout the homebuying
process,” said Jeffrey S. Markowitz, Freddie Mac’s Vice President of
Government and Industry Relations. “We want to help them clear the path to
the closing table by providing information that may allow them to provide even
more options to their clients and grow their business.”