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When branch manager of Castle & Cooke Mortgage David Hosterman started in the mortgage business in 2004, he knew it was “exactly what he wanted to do.” The Colorado lender said customer online reviews help him bring in new business, and he directs prospective customers to online review sites if they have any hesitation working with him.
Buying a home is a big decision for the consumer. Mortgage brokers must understand that existing customers who reassure potential customers of your services through online review sites are essential for new business.
Of home buyers in the United States, 32 percent are Millennials, which is more than any other generation of home buyers including baby boomers, according to a 2015 generational trends report by the National Association of Realtors. 68 percent of Millennials also comprise of the largest share of first-time home buyers.
What’s more, 7 percent of the home buyers who searched for homes on the Internet found a mortgage lender online.
“Online reviews are critical to get from previous customers,” Hosterman said. “This allows future customers to see how I operate and gives future customers a sense of reassurance that they are working with a reputable loan officer and company. In addition, it allows future customers to see other people’s opinions on the service that they received throughout the loan process.”
Customers reach out to Hosterman after finding his business on review sites. “This happens on numerous occasions each and every month,” he said. “I think customers like to hear what others have to say about mortgage brokers and how their customer service is.”
American Banker published an article in November highlighting how online reviews help a lender in Chicago bring in new customers.
In an interview with American Banker, Sam Sharp, executive vice president of Guaranteed Rate in Chicago said he requests that his clients give online feedback about their experience. “Online reviews have been the top source of my business from marketing. I had a few reviews that were posted, and I started to receive business from random clients that had found these reviews online. Since then I have focused on increasing positive feedback online which has led to a strong return. The best part is, it’s free.”
It’s not just Sharp and Hosterman who think it’s important to manage online reviews.
Koorosh Farzad, founder and senior mortgage broker of Masihi Financial, said after word of mouth, mortgage brokers who show accountability are able to then distinguish themselves from the competition.
“Online reviews are the basis of showing the mortgage broker’s accountability for the results that are manifested when securing a loan for a borrower,” he said.
“An important part of my marketing strategy is to maintain and expand on the company’s online reviews.”