Tips for Forging Reverse Mortgage Referral Partnerships with Attorneys

Referral partnerships can be the bread and butter for a reverse mortgage originator, helping to facilitate borrower leads that may not be within the sphere of influence of a particular loan officer. Real estate attorneys can prove to be among these valuable referral partners, but there are also some things that one should know before attempting to forge those kinds of connections.

“The first thing [loan officers should know] would be that they need to be prepared to educate that lawyer about their product in a way that’s not a sales pitch, and that’s educational,” says Gary M. Singer, a board-certified real estate attorney in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. in a recent interview on The RMD Podcast. “We get approached, as lawyers, a lot by people who want us to refer stuff.”

This also leads to a second idea, which is that lawyers don’t have as much business to refer as some people think they do, Singer says, since clients are usually sent to attorneys instead of the other way around. Still, when those situations do arise, there is one key attribute that makes lawyers excellent referral partners.

“We [as attorneys] tend to be very, very loyal and send [referrals] to people that have done a good job by our clients in the past,” Singer says. That connection can feed directly into the reputation of the lawyer, and if his or her reputation can be bolstered by forging an effective referral partnership, the lawyer will generally be more receptive.

“When you do approach that lawyer, you have to show that you’re going to make them look good,” Singer says. “That you’re going to get the job done, reasonably, quickly and you’re going to be communicative about the process.”

Being communicative and having a demonstrable way of showing these things could help an originator find a new, potentially lifelong referral partner, Singer says.

“I’m [often] still referring to the same people I referred ten years ago because I have to trust my reputation to them,” he says. “Lawyers are typically extremely concerned about their reputation. Me personally, if I don’t feel comfortable referring something, I’d rather tell someone that I don’t have anyone to refer and will instead offer up a resource to go look up rather than put myself out there.”

Still, solid lenders and loan officers who are in the lending industry at-large, but those with a demonstrable record of preserving or bolstering their partners’ reputations will naturally get more attention, Singer says.

“I definitely have my go-to folks that have proven that they know what they’re talking about, and can get the job done,” he says.

For more of Gary Singer’s perspectives on the reverse mortgage industry and the interactions between it and the legal profession, listen to the latest episode of The RMD Podcast.

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