Real Estate

Separating Fact From Fiction

Real estate agents are one of the key influencers during the home-buying process. And because they can ultimately make or break the experience for both a client and a mortgage lender, they must be factored into the equation as a centralized focus.

A primary focal point throughout the years, Rocket Mortgage is continuing to double down on its commitment to improving the real estate agent’s experience when working together to guide clients through the process of purchasing a home and securing the necessary financing to achieve the American Dream of homeownership.

And while the market looks radically different than it did just a few short months ago, as far as Rocket Mortgage is concerned, taking care of real estate agents and their clients is more important than ever.

Here, members of the Rocket Mortgage team dispel some common myths by highlighting what they’re doing to improve the experience of agents and clients alike as well as new products that are currently on the market that are helping to ease the strain associated with the rising rate environment.

Myth No. 1: The team at Rocket Mortgage doesn’t care, especially when it comes to agent partner feedback.

The truth: Real people, real experiences is the name of the game at Rocket Mortgage. And for Rebecca Rosenberg, senior vice president of Client Experience Operations, staying true to that mission is all about monitoring performance, looking for ways to improve the process and driving change forward.

As Rosenberg and her team work to enhance the experience of agents and clients at every step along the journey, a concerted focus on feedback is priority No. 1.

“If I had to choose one thing I enjoy most about my job, it would have to be the feedback we receive from our agents, their clients and even our own team members,” says Rosenberg, who points to two specific ISMs—or Rocket Mortgage core philosophies—that tie directly into this area:

  1. Obsessed with finding a better way. If it’s good, let’s make it great. If it’s great, let’s take it to an even higher level.
  2. The inches we need are everywhere around us. We’re all empowered to find the opportunities to make an impact everywhere. These inches all add up to greatness.

Committed to making the process better for everyone involved, Rosenberg goes on to explain that collaborating with other teams and keeping their ear to the ground is a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to guiding the way.

Even though it may sound simple, according to Rosenberg, stepping back and listening to the conversations taking place is perhaps the best way to show just how much the team at Rocket Mortgage cares.

“We want to be a true partner to our agents, and that boils down to being there for them and serving them exactly where they need us,” says Rosenberg.

To that end, Rosenberg notes that one area she and her team have been focused on lately involves reducing the number of different voices that their agent partners are hearing from while still providing the insights and updates needed to keep the process running smoothly.

“We are always listening and taking the feedback of our agent partners into consideration, and we’re constantly evolving and adapting to their specific needs as well as what’s happening in the marketplace.”

Myth No. 2: Rocket Mortgage isn’t local.

The truth: With no physical office locations that agents or clients can walk into, Rocket Mortgage is often perceived as a lender with no local expertise in a given area. But, as the market changes, the company is rallying behind the fact that—as a national lender—it has knowledge and experience all across the country.

While Rocket Mortgage may not have a brick-and-mortar office building prominently displayed on every street corner, there’s no denying that team members understand the local market just as well as anyone else.

“In addition to the presence we have across the country, we have remote bankers on our team, meaning there are some people who are more local than others,” says Adam Speck, executive vice president of Purchase.

Available when needed, the team at Rocket Mortgage is a call, email or text away. The way Speck sees it, being there to answer questions or provide insight at a moment’s notice is mission critical.

“Knowing that their mortgage banker or loan officer is dialed in and available 24/7 no matter what the agent needs is more important than ever given the uncertainty and volatility in today’s market,” adds Speck.

It’s also important to note that agents can select to work with a specific banker or loan officer to develop a working relationship with that individual, ensuring that someone they trust is by their side the entire time—just as they would be at the lender down the street from their real estate office.

That’s why giving bankers and loan officers everything they need to become local market experts will continue to be a major initiative as the future unfolds.

“What we do today is going to have a lasting effect—or a ripple effect, if you will—for weeks, months and even years to come,” says Speck.

“We will continue delivering an incredible experience so the entire real estate community knows Rocket Mortgage is the place where everyone should be directing their attention when they’re looking to buy a home,” adds Speck, who points to a Rocket Mortgage approval as one of the strongest approvals there is.

“When we say that a client is approved and they’re going to get to the closing table, there should be no question in the agent’s mind that the client is approved and will get to the closing table.”

Myth No. 3: Working with Rocket Mortgage is a cumbersome digital process that’s not very personal.

The truth: For anyone who’s worked with Rocket Mortgage, the experience is one they’ve most likely never encountered before…and one they won’t soon forget.

“We’ve built an incredible platform that carries with it an incredible brand and an incredible process that’s efficient,” says Doka Juncaj, senior vice president of Mortgage Banking. “It enables people to get the great mortgage they need in a great way, and also very quickly,” he adds.

Just as important as the technology is the effort to make sure agents realize the many reasons it pays to work with Rocket Mortgage.

“We’ve been getting on the ground level and demonstrating to our agent partners what the process looks like,” says Juncaj. “It’s all about pulling away the curtain and translating something that real estate professionals and prospective buyers often perceive as complex into terms that are easy to understand.”

Drilling down further, it’s also about demonstrating to real estate professionals that the individuals working behind the scenes are real people.

“When we say, ‘push button, get mortgage,’ know that there are still humans that buyers can talk to if needed. We provide the choice and flexibility to go through the process on your own or have mortgage bankers walk you through the process every step of the way. Regardless of how the buyer starts the process, they have the technology to download their approval letter before viewing homes and adjust the approval amount—within the approved range—before making an offer,” says Juncaj, who is focused on ensuring mortgage bankers at Rocket Mortgage are on the same side of the table as their agent partners.

“Being on the same side of the table allows us to win together for our shared clients,” explains Juncaj, who encourages real estate professionals to get to know their loan officers.

“Not only will it be mutually beneficial for you as an agent, but most importantly, it will benefit your clients,” says Juncaj.

Myth No. 4: Rocket Mortgage is just a machine and they don’t care.

The truth: For Jordan Joseph—director of Product Marketing—this couldn’t be further from the truth.

“We’ve made it our mission over the years to support real estate agents and improve their experience when working with Rocket Mortgage,” says Joseph.

Laser-focused on ensuring that agents receive a next-level experience with top-notch communication and dedicated support, Rocket Mortgage has solidified the agent’s position at the center of it all.

“As the market changes, we change with it,” explains Joseph.

Joseph and her team constantly examine the processes that are already in place and listen more closely to agent feedback to determine how best to customize the experience as the market evolves.

“We’ve done a lot of market research into the needs and desires of real estate agents, paying attention to how we can best show up for that community,” says Joseph, who goes on to explain that now more than ever, agents desire clear communication and specific content that can really move the needle.

To deliver on that specific need, Rocket Mortgage provides Agent Update videos and Rocket Fuel newsletters, which provide all the tips, tools and insights agents need to be successful.

Ranging anywhere from one to three minutes, Agent Update videos cover Rocket Mortgage product updates, interviews with industry experts and a whole lot more. Short and sweet (and to the point), the videos are promoted via social media.

Sent on a weekly basis, Rocket Fuel newsletters provide industry content and updates related to the mortgage market in addition to anything being offered to real estate agents at any given time.

“We’re pulling as much information as we can that’s backed by the Fed and other industry sources to provide expert opinions every step of the way,” says Joseph.

Myth No. 5: The online lender provides nothing more than mortgage financing.

The truth: As the industry adjusts to a new market that’s defined by rising mortgage rates and a hesitancy among prospective buyers to get off the sidelines and realize their home-buying dreams, real estate professionals are looking to differentiate themselves any way they can.

“As a real estate professional, being able to differentiate yourself in any market—especially a different market—is important,” says Carl Larson, senior vice president of Mortgage Banking.

And with Rocket Mortgage by their side, real estate professionals across the board are armed with the tools and products they need to provide a level of certainty to those clients who may need it as we adjust to the new normal.

“I think fear of the unknown is always going to be a factor whenever people are making a large decision, especially one of the largest financial decisions of their lives, so anything we can do to help ease some of that fear is critical,” says Larson.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on being a lender that takes care of its agent partners and, in turn, their clients. One of the things we’re focusing on now is the products we’re offering our agent partners that can help their clients save money,” adds Brandon Downs, senior vice president of Mortgage Banking.

Three of the products the mortgage lender is currently leaning into include:

  1. Inflation Buster. A temporary interest rate buydown, Inflation Buster is a new program that gives homebuyers a reprieve by reducing their monthly mortgage payment 1 percentage point for the first year of their loan. Given the market, the overall economy and where inflation stands today, saving homeowners money is a big deal to Rocket Mortgage because it puts consumers in a better position when it comes to other expenses associated with homeownership, whether they are planned or unplanned.
  2. RateShield. A creative product that allows the client to lock-in their mortgage rate while they go through the process of shopping for a home, RateShield provides the option to lower the client’s interest rate one time should rates fall before they close on their home. No matter what happens with interest rates, clients can rest assured that Rocket Mortgage has their back, ensuring that they still qualify for the home of their dreams if rates continue to rise.
  3. Rate Drop Advantage. Designed specifically to help real estate professionals get people off the fence, Rate Drop Advantage allows those who purchase with Rocket Mortgage to have the option to refinance at any time between four months and three years after their closing date with reduced closing costs. To be eligible, clients must lock their initial rate when buying a home in today’s market.

“We’re excited to provide these programs to our partners,” says Larson. “Our lending innovations give them the ability to provide the certainty that’s necessary in today’s market.”

“Our agent partners and their clients need guidance right now when it comes to making a good financial decision, and these products are yet another reason our clients choose to do business with us,” says Downs.

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