First-time home buyers offer great potential to grow your membership and should be considered a valuable commodity. As they are buying a home they are developing a level of trust and a deeper relationship with your credit union. Plus, by having a mortgage with your credit union, they have a firm anchor within your brand. Treat them right and you have a deep commitment from a new generation of members.
To build your brand with new first-time homebuyers, you’ll want to be sure to follow these simple steps in their lending experience.
Time and Patience
As their first experience in buying a home they can’t possibly be prepared for what lies ahead. By patiently answering all their questions and guiding them through the process they will feel comfortable working through even the most challenging collection of documents or frustrating home purchases.
It’s not a file, it’s a referral
Don’t look at the work involved for each loan file as arduous, but see it as a door for more referred friends. A first-time homebuyer often has other friends in the same season of life where they are buying a home for a first-time and they will ask them about their experience. A referral is the biggest compliment you can receive and by investing in each first-time homebuyer you will naturally have additional referrals.
Help them Pre-qualify
During a seller’s market houses go fast, and if they aren’t prepared to make an offer right away, they could lose the house altogether. A pre-qualification is a necessary first step to ensure they are looking for a home they can afford, but also to move quickly when they find the right house. Be flexible and ready to help them pre-qualify. They we be grateful for the additional help.
Offer lots of financing options
First-time homebuyers aren’t your cookie cutter borrower. They often require a bit more research and looking outside the box for financing options is necessary. A seasoned loan officer will know the ins and outs of what different products are available and what the qualifications are. You’ll want to talk to the member about all the options that fit them. Keep them informed of what options they have and help them make the most educated decision about what they need.
A member with a busy loan officer can feel lost in the process. The best way to help them feel comfortable with the transaction is to communicate with them regularly. Set a standard of 3 to 4 times a week to ensure that they don’t feel forgotten. Even if you don’t have an update, call to check-in and make sure they are comfortable with things and don’t have any additional questions.
A first-time homebuyer can easily have unrealistic expectations in all the steps of financing a home. They don’t have anything to compare it to and don’t know what’s next. Set them up with proper expectations from the beginning and you’ll likely have a much smoother experience for them.
First-time homebuyers will spread the word of their great experience with you, making you a preferred lender for this growing number of borrowers in the market.