Collaborating to get people into houses has always been important, but the relationships between lenders and real estate professionals have become absolutely critical during stay-at-home orders. Borrowers are losing employment unexpectedly, house tours have gone virtual and closing might have to happen through the window of a borrower’s car.
These are not normal times, and the only way to be effective is to work as a team.
That’s why we’ve invited Bobbi Howe, a Kansas City, Missouri, Realtor with more than 20 years in the business to talk about the Lender/Realtor Partnership at our virtual engage.marketing summit in June. Our theme is The Agile Marketer, an attitude and execution Howe lives out every day. Howe literally grew up in real estate, accompanying her Realtor mother to showings from the age of 8, and earning her real estate license at 18.
Today, she’s not only an active Keller Williams Realtor, but the president of the 12,000-strong Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors, the 2020 immediate Past Chair of the Strategic Thinking Advisory Committee for the National Association of Realtors, and the 2020 Chair of Strategic Planning for Missouri Realtors.
She works closely with dozens of lenders and together they are adapting to the disruptions happening because of the coronavirus pandemic. With all the changes going on, Howe said communication is paramount.
“Communication has always been essential, but right now we almost need over-communication,” Howe said. “If there is even a hint that something is changing, we all need to know well in advance.”
There are all sorts of complications lenders, realtors and other partners are working through at the moment. In Howe’s area, the governors of both Kansas and Missouri signed executive orders allowing “notaries and witnesses to act via audio-visual communication technology” but that doesn’t mean every title company or lender can execute on that. Howe said some companies are allowing signers to enter a business one at a time — no kids allowed — and others are outfitted with gloves and masks to pass documents through a car window.
Another adjustment Realtors are making right now is giving sellers more veto power on who gets to enter their home. As a regular part of their business, many Realtors might require a pre-approval letter to show a home, but now borrowers might need to not just make an offer but have an actual contract in place, Howe said. And only the person whose name is on the contract is allowed in.
It’s a time that requires patience and flexibility, but also the opportunity to forge closer ties between lenders, Realtors and other transaction partners.
“We are all trying to stay ahead of potential issues — anything we see that might be coming down the pike — so we are having really frank conversations with each other,” Howe said.
It’s all part of the new normal and a great reason to attend the virtual engage.marketing summit June 11-12 to hear more from Howe and other experts, including Barbara Yolles, Brian Covey, and Sarah DeCiantis.