Ask The Expert: More Thoughts On Refocusing on Purchases

In my last column, Cheryl from Florida asked about refocusing on purchases in 2021. Here are some additional insights.

Dave Hershman

As a reminder, here is Cheryl’s question: “I read the forecast by the MBA which says there will be less refinances [in 2021]. I have been doing mostly refinances and I have no idea how to get back to focusing on purchases. What do you recommend?”

In my last column, I wrote about the importance of diversification in any market. There will be refinances in 2021 and every year, though the balance will change from year-to-year.

Going back to focusing on the purchase market, the next question is: are you rekindling agent relationships you have neglected or expanding by developing new relationships? Again, in this regard I am going to recommend diversification. That means that you need to work in both directions.

If you have ignored your agents during the refinance boom, I will quote Martin Luther King, Jr.: “The time is always right to do what is right.”

You may feel uncomfortable calling someone you have not called in 18 months, but you must do so anyway. However, doing what is right is not calling and asking for their business–“Hey, I know we have not talked in 18 months, but do you have any deals for me?”

But, it is always the right time to call and get caught up. Reestablish the relationship first. Find out how they are doing and what their challenges are. That conversation may lead to business or it may build a foundation for the future.

Regarding meeting new agents, this is where you leverage your sphere. Everyone you know also knows a real estate agent or two. Your neighbors, your family, the professionals you use and more. You should not be cold calling agents if your next-door neighbor knows an agent and can introduce you. You have a sphere. Leverage that sphere. This is networking at its highest level.

Moving to the last point, establishing agent relationships is not enough, you must have a value proposition. And to get to that we must first define the term value. In order to be labeled valuable, your offering must be different.

If you are offering the same things your competition is offering, then there is no inherent value. Think of a rare coin. The value is in the rarity. If a million of the same coins were discovered tomorrow, the value of that coin will fall. If your offer is great rates, service or products, the offering will not be different. How many loan officers approach an agent and say “use me, but keep in mind I deliver lousy service?”

Secondly, value must be in line with the interests or goals of your target. It can’t be what you are interested in. For example, your clients are not interested in mortgages. They are interested in real estate. No one gets up in the morning on Saturday and says to their spouse “let’s go look at mortgages today.”

And your agents are not interested in loans either. They are interested in bringing in more business. Just like you. It is all about increasing their income.

How might you help your agents increase their income? There are a multitude of ways and, in a future article, I will give an example that illustrates a common loan officer offering and making it unique, as well as being more on target with regard what your agents are really interested in.

Dave Hershman is Senior VP of Sales of Weichert Financial and the top author in the mortgage industry. Dave has published seven books, as well as hundreds of articles and is the founder of the OriginationPro Marketing System and Mortgage School – the online choice for expert mortgage learning and marketing content. His site is and he can be reached at


1st Alliance Lending Faces CFPB Lawsuit Over Mortgage Practices

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced a lawsuit against Hartford, Conn.-based 1st Alliance Lending and three individuals for allegedly unlawful mortgage-lending practices.

The CFPB’s complaint, filed in Connecticut federal court, claims that 1st Alliance violated the Truth in Lending Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Mortgage Acts and Practices—Advertising Rule and the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010.

A 1st Alliance spokesperson has denied the allegations.


Ask The Expert: How Do I Market An Open House?

Jonathan from Maryland asked: “You have talked about adding value to an agent. The example you gave was marketing an open house, instead of providing open house flyers. I am not sure how to market an open house since I am used to marketing financing rates and programs to real estate agents and consumers.”

Dave Hershman

Dave: Interesting that you gave the example of marketing rates and programs in a question about value. It brings us back to an important point regarding value.

Value has to be defined as something your target is interested in–not what you are interested in. Your clients are not interested in mortgages. They are interested in real estate. Your agents are interested in selling real estate.

While I will admit that home loans help purchase real estate, it is not top of mind to their clients. No one says to their spouse on Sunday morning: “Honey, let’s go look for mortgages today.” Now with refinances, they already own a home and the value may be lowering their payments or paying off consumer debt, but that is another matter.

So, the next question is: how do you help agents sell more homes? If they are holding an open house, the more prospects that come to the open, the more likely they will sell that house. But holding opens is not about just selling the house.

Many prospects who visit are not tied to a real estate agent and, therefore, the agent could help them find another home to purchase. Or perhaps they have a home to sell and they are impressed with the agent’s marketing. Now, the agent can pick up a listing.

Going even further, it is not unusual for neighbors to drop into an open house and be interested in selling their own home. Thus, holding opens can lead to a plethora of opportunities for the agent. The more prospects you can help them get to the open, the greater the opportunities that may lie ahead.

My answer is incomplete without some additional specific guidance with regard to the marketing aspect of providing value. It is also interesting that you mentioned you are used to marketing to real estate agents. I say that because many prospects come to an open house either with an agent or because they were directed to the home by an agent. Thus, marketing to agents is very relevant.

For decades, I have been discouraging loan officers from visiting real estate offices with rate sheets and/or doughnuts. Agents are not interested in your rates. They are selling homes. What if you arrived on a Friday with an open house flyer–an event you are sponsoring with one of your top agents? That gives you both credibility and something of value.

Of course, today you don’t need to visit offices to get the word out. You should have an email list of key agents and hopefully this list is loaded into your CRM so you can get the word out at a push of a button. While you are at it, why not email your entire sphere?

Today, the world of social media enables us to reach our sphere and beyond. Posting the flyer is of interest to agents and those who might be interested in purchasing a home–or know others who might be interested.

Even broadcast texting services can be relevant–just provide a link to the flyer and/or a video. The video could be a video of the home or a short message from you with an invite. There are a multitude of ways for you to help the agent market the event, again with the goal of getting more people to the open which is the ultimate value you can provide.

Dave Hershman is Senior VP of Sales of Weichert Financial and the top author in the mortgage industry. Dave has published seven books, as well as hundreds of articles and is the founder of the OriginationPro Marketing System and Mortgage School – the online choice for expert mortgage learning and marketing content. His site is and he can be reached at


Mr. Cooper to Pay $91M to Settle Claims of Deceptive Practices

Nationstar, which now operates as Mr. Cooper, has agreed to pay $91 million to resolve allegations by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and 50 state attorneys general that it engaged in unlawful servicing practices. So reports CNBC.

The fourth-largest mortgage service nationwide was accused of failing to honor borrowers’ loan modification agreements and unfairly foreclosing on borrowers requesting debt relief during a period from January 2012 to December 2016.

“When these issues were identified several years ago, we immediately made restitution to our impacted customers and invested in process improvements to prevent reoccurrence,” Mr. Cooper CEO and chair Jay Bray said in a statement.

Read the full article from CNBC.


CFPB Wraps Up Revamp of Mortgage Underwriting Rules

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued two final rules easing mortgage-lending rules about a borrower’s repayment ability. So reports Reuters.

The move by the consumer watchdog aims to expand the mortgage options for lower-income borrowers by lowering the liability risk to lenders.

One of the CFPB’s new rules substitutes a price-based limit for the current 43% debt-to-income ratio limit in the definition of a general “qualified mortgage.”

Read the full article from Reuters.


Bodnar of MMG: The Fed and the Unsaid

Bill Bodnar of The Mortgage Market Guide shares his thoughts on this week’s Fed meeting. “The Fed told us rates will likely remain at current levels through 2023. They also said they would use whatever tools necessary to support their dual mandate of maximum employment and price stability.”

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FHFA to Keep COVID-19 Loan Flexibility Through February

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will extend several flexible standards for loan originations by another month.

“The changes are to ensure continued support for borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency,” according to the agency.

Originally set to expire on January 31, the flexibilities will now last until February 28.

Read the full press release.


Biden Administration Could Play Big Role in Housing

Housing experts foresee President-elect Joe Biden being more engaged in housing issues than previous White House occupants. So reports MarketWatch.

Biden views housing matters as essential to economic and social policy, with implications for the climate and civil rights, according to the experts.

“They are much more likely to fold housing policy into their broader, high-priority economic policy agenda in a way that we haven’t seen in a long time,” said Jim Parrott of the Urban Institute.

Read the full article from MarketWatch.


Bodnar of MMG: A New Trend to Share with Clients

Bill Bodnar of The Mortgage Market Guide (MMG) discussed how the Fed has played an enormous role in the housing gift that was 2020. This is due to its Bond buys. However things may be changing a bit. A trend has emerged that should be shared with clients. Watch the video to learn about it.

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Bodnar of MMG: Stimulus Plan Brings 3 Things Rates Don’t Like

2021 has ushered in plenty of market turbulence, according to Bill Bodnar of The Mortgage Market Guide (MMG). Rates have been on the rise due to escalating inflation expectations.

Another $1.9T stimulus plan brings three things Bonds/rates don’t like.

Hear Bodnar’s thoughts on Stimulus, the Fed and more answers in the video below.

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