The good times can’t last forever, right? After nearly two years of unbelievable activity, current MBA data shows the volume of mortgage business may decline by more than 30 percent next year. Don’t let that number scare you.
These past two years have been unprecedented in terms of homebuying and refinancing. A drop like this really only means we’re getting back to a more normal environment. Finding our equilibrium as interest rates inevitably rise.
Still, you can’t pay your own mortgage on perspective. There are plenty of ways to grow in a declining market. You just have to know where to start.
Focus – Many endeavors fail because the pursuer is trying to balance too many things at once. Identify where your time (and money) is best spent and remain laser focused on those activities.
Redesigning your company logo or brightening up your website may be “nice to haves,” but will these actions really move the needle on mortgage volumes? Probably not. Connecting with more realtors, sponsoring community events and hosting more informational sessions might, however. Whatever works for you, do more of that and consider the rest of the to-do list lower priority.
But Diversify – Sounds counterintuitive, I know, but hear me out. You want to focus on whatever closes more transactions. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to focus on only one type of transaction. Maybe refis make up the bulk of your business – and that’s great – but as interest rates rise and refis dry up, you’ll want to find ways to keep your pipeline flowing.
This could mean branching out into reverse mortgages or VA loans. Maybe you devote one weekend a month to helping a realtor referral partner with open houses. You can remain laser focused on what drives business while still understanding that more spigots offer the potential for a higher volume of water.
Listen – I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face: listen more, talk less. Don’t assume you know what the customer needs (or wants). Your job as a quasi-financial advisor is to listen to the client. Take in their short- and long-term goals. Answer questions. Address concerns.
Only then do you give your two cents on what you think would work best for them. And please note – this isn’t the same as waiting to talk. It’s waiting to weigh in until you have all the information at hand. When leads become scarce and borrowers aren’t banging down your door, customer service, professionalism and expertise will be what sets you apart.
Strengthen Your Team – You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with. Make sure you’re playing with the best. The end of the year is a great time to take stock of your team. What did you do well – both collectively and individually? What needs work? What are your common and individual goals, and how can you support each other in those pursuits?
You may be the face of your office, but if the client has to send multiple follow ups, ask for updates or resend materials because your team isn’t functioning like a well-oiled machine, then you have a problem. Whether behind the scenes or client-facing, your group should move as one. If you have kinks, now’s the time to work it out. Borrowers won’t be forgiving with so much competition in the market.
Create a Marketing Strategy – I should say “create a new marketing strategy” because I’m hoping you already have one that’s been working for you. But a new market means a new strategy. Determine how and where you’re going to add value, then make that apparent to borrowers. Develop social media and drip email campaigns around that strategy and stay consistent.
The best way to do this is through a content calendar that locks in themes for the month but provides a little wiggle room for timely, relevant content as well. This way you can adapt and address changing market dynamics like interest rate increases or what the new COVID variant may mean to the housing market.
The New Year won’t be all doom and gloom, but it’s prudent to prepare for a less robust landscape. It’s been an amazing run, but we all knew things would level out sooner or later. There’s a solid bet 2022 will be the year for that.