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Six Success Secrets I have Learned as a Mortgage Broker That Generate Lasting Results

Six Success Secrets I have Learned as a Mortgage Broker That Generate Lasting Results

I have been in the commercial real estate financing business as a lender and mortgage broker for over 30 years. I have arranged over a billion dollars in loans and worked with hundreds of different borrowers, so I know what it takes to get lenders to approve a loan request. 

  1. Know Your Client and the Loan Request in Detail.
  • WHO is the Borrower? Know your clients experience in real estate as it relates to the specific request. Do they own other investment properties? Are they an experienced property manager? Have they remodeled properties before? You need to be able to share with the lender WHO is behind the loan and make the lender feel comfortable the borrower is knowledgeable and experienced. It’s important to disclose the financial status, i.e., credit score, liquidity, net worth, etc. Also, if there are any skeletons in the closet, e.g., BK’s, foreclosures, etc., both pros and cons need to be shared upfront. If there is overt risk in a particular area, then suggest offsetting the risk, e.g., cross collateralize with another property to bolster the credit.
  • WHY does the borrower need the loan? Know your clients objective in getting the Loan. Is the client refinancing? Has the loan matured? Is she purchasing the property because of a 1031 exchange? Or does she want to refinance to get a better rate? Or is it a refinance to pull cash out for other reasons? Know WHY the client is getting the loan, because this will determine the type of loan that best fits what the client needs. For example, a bridge loan, a permanent loan, or construction loan, which in turn will direct you to the right lender to present the loan request to.
  • WHAT is the security? Know the product type, e.g., office, residential, multi-family. Know the condition of the property, % leased? Vacancy? Deferred maintenance? Refinance or purchase? What did they pay for it if owned and when was it purchased? How much was spent on capital improvements? Know how much cash the borrower will ultimately have in the project “skin in the deal”.
  • Know your client’s “HOT BUTTONS.” What is most important to the borrower in getting this loan? Is it the highest loan amount you can get? Lowest rate? Lowest fee? Longest term? Longest amortization? No prepayment penalty? Know the most important features desired by the borrower in this loan request. These items need to be presented upfront.
  1. Present the loan request in a short, clear, and concise summary. 

One page preferred two pages max. This could be done in an email format or just a Word Document. The request needs to be short, clear, and concise on what you are requesting, including the borrower’s “Hot Buttons” needed.

      • Here is a basic outline of the summary template:
      • Borrower Name and guarantors
      • Project/Purpose
      • Loan Request (rate and terms)/ Timing
      • Security/Collateral/Picture
      • Environmental status (if applicable)
      • Valuation/Appraisal info.
      • Lease/Occupancy status
      • Borrower cash in the deal
      • LTC/LTV/DSCR
      • Exit Strategy
      • Source/Use of Funds
  • Call the lender before you send the request. Once a lender acknowledges your loan request, he or she will be more apt to open your email when you send it.
  • Don’t send all the supporting documentation with your initial loan request. The simpler the request, the better as long as it is clear and concise with the right information. This will get your loan request to the top of the lenders’ loan request pile. If a lender can read your loan request in 10 minutes and understand it, you are way ahead of most other borrowers trying to get their loan approved.
  • When a borrower sends me a vague loan request with all kinds of supporting documents, it’s more difficult to wad through it to know if it is a loan I want to make. On the other hand, when I get a request that is short, clear, and concise, I can make a quick decision on my interest level, then dial down, and get the necessary supporting documentation later.
  • I am giving away a free loan summary template. Click HERE to get a loan summary template in a Word Doc format you can use for your next loan request.
  1. Identify the right lender.
  • Target the lender that will most likely do the loan. An experienced mortgage broker will have a database of lenders to choose from and know which lender is best suited for the particular borrower’s request.
  • Just because a client has had a relationship with a particular bank for a long time doesn’t mean they will make the loan. You have to go to the lender that is currently looking for your product type with pricing/terms that are in line with what you need.
  • Lenders ebb and flow with their appetite for particular loans and pricing depending on their internal portfolio constraints. It also frequently changes, so if a lender did not do a certain loan type or structure in the past doesn’t mean they won’t now. I had a lender that was not doing multi-family loans the first half of the year, and I checked again later in the year, and they had the best pricing on a multi-family loan than any lender at the time. Things always are changing. This is a plus, so check often with lenders on where they are at with product type and pricing.
  • Submit the loan request only to a few lenders at a time. Avoid making a blanket loan request to too many lenders at one time. Ultimately since only one lender is chosen, it can cause you to lose credibility if done too often.
  • Provide your client with a few loan financing options from different lenders. Provide a fair representation of the best loan proposals available that fit your client’s needs. Create a matrix of the pros and cons of the loan proposals. Then recommend the one that you believe is the best for your client. 
  1. Create a relationship of trust with your client. The customer will in turn keep coming back.
  • Make sure your client knows that you have their best interest in mind. Be honest with your client. For example, don’t tell your client that this lender has the best loan program just because this lender has a rebate fee to the broker, and the other lenders don’t.
  1. Generate value for your client before demanding anything in return.
  • I discourage requesting an upfront fee for the time you put into your initial lender due diligence before executing a fee agreement. The value you give upfront is part of the overall cost of doing business. Yes, this is business, and you need to treat it as such, but people and relationships take precedence. If you maintain strong relationships with people, business success will follow. Provide some free initial due diligence to show the client you are interested in them. Once you have gained their trust, then execute a fee agreement, which will ensure your just compensation upon closing.
  1. Consistently communicate with your clients.
  • It is all about relationships. Communicate with your existing clients. They are your best source of new business. Always try to give something of value to your clients, whether it is through a newsletter, blog, audio, or anything of intrinsic value to them. Cultivating existing relationships through communication and providing relevant and informative content, is by far the best way to market to new clients and generate repeat business.
  • Every commercial real estate loan request is a little different. There is no one simple formula that fits every loan request. However, these are several success secrets I have learned to help your clients succeed in getting loans approved and create lasting relationships for recurring business.


Have you applied any of these tips in getting your clients loan approved? Has it worked? What other things have you done to help your clients get financing?


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