Written by Greg Saffer, as originally published in The Reverse Review.

The philosophy that old-fashioned, face-to-face meetings can still work is essential to the success of the reverse mortgage product. Technological advances have made the world less about the individual and more about the machine, and friendly interaction has become less important than the bottom line, leaving a large section of the population out of touch and underserved. When it comes to a reverse mortgage transaction, marketing locally and meeting a client in person in order to personally assess the condition of a property can give the savvy originator the upper hand.

Marketing Locally
It is essential for

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an originator to concentrate marketing within a reasonable distance from his or her location in order to facilitate one-on-one customer contact. Keeping the client close is reminiscent of the days when doctors made house calls. The reverse mortgage product requires this same personal touch to ensure that your senior borrower is well educated about the product, and if the borrower and originator are close in proximity, the loan’s closing time can be reduced and the transaction will be more profitable. Most reverse mortgage borrowers are not technologically advanced. Therefore, in order to provide the best, most personalized service, in-person meetings can keep the mechanics of the process simple. Tailoring your marketing to local clients can move the loan along smoothly from the beginning.

Face-to-Face With the Senior
By meeting with a senior borrower in person, a loan originator builds trust. Personal contact can help senior clients feel confident that the originator is working for their benefit. The education process of a reverse loan can be tedious, but the more effort spent in explanation, education and communication can help the client make the right decision for his or her golden years.

During this meeting, clients should complete a detailed income-to-expense worksheet with the guidance of their reverse professional. This can be an eye-opening experience, as it is not uncommon for clients to be unaware of exactly where their money is going. The opportunity to sit at the client’s kitchen table and show them the reality of their expenses today can be an important step in closing the loan. I’ve also found that it can be helpful to involve other family members in the process so that everyone is aware of the current situation. This way, those who will be affected by the process are informed and educated, and any questions or concerns can be addressed head on.

The Benefits of Seeing the Property Firsthand
Not only does an originator who meets clients in person have the ability to build a stronger connection, he or she can also take the opportunity to assess the client’s property firsthand before an FHA appraiser gets involved. This could potentially save time and money because the originator can determine what requirements need to be met prior to the appraisal inspection, ensuring, for example, that working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are already in place and possibly saving the appraiser from having to return to the property for a second inspection. Efficient closings benefit all parties involved in the transaction and seeing the condition of the property early in the game can save time and money at the end.

Thanks to technology, changes are happening to the reverse mortgage product and the procedures involved in the loan transaction. Regardless, a large percentage of the population still appreciates the personal touch of a face-to-face meeting and this is a simple thing a reverse mortgage professional can do despite any adjustments to the program. Many seniors are not comfortable with change, and if an originator can put them at ease and educate them about the product, they have a better chance of winning them over and closing the loan.

Happy senior clients can be loyal referral sources for those who genuinely work hard on their behalf, and building relationships one at a time can be profitable if you are persistent. Creating and nourishing this reverse mortgage niche may not be advantageous on a large scale, but it can be a profitable model that can boost your business while also providing a valuable service to a portion of the population that is sometimes overlooked. The mechanics of this practice may change as the reverse mortgage product changes, but the foundation will remain the same. Meeting a senior face-to-face will still be effective, educational and profitable for the dedicated reverse professional.