Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: Hey Mortgage People - Do You Want to Grow your Business or Not?? Get over yourself!!

Hey Mortgage People - Do You Want to Grow your Business or Not?? Get over yourself!!


Hey Austin Mortgage People, do you want to grow your businesses or not??

Last week, I received an email from a mortgage "professional" saying that she read my blog and thought it was funny and informative, and would I be willing to meet with her so we could do business in the future.

As always, I responded very promptly with the following email:

Thank you for your email.  I am actually looking to add some new mortgage professionals to my back pocket.  I don’t know how much of my blog you read, but I’m a fairly new transplant from Dallas (
Richardson) and gave up a very lucrative business with being the #1 agent in my office, to come here and completely start over.  It’s frustrating and daunting, but I’m working on it…

With that, I’ve met with several different mortgage people over the past few months, and I “thought” I had a good group of three to refer people to, however, that has not been the case.  Yes, they are good mortgage people and have gotten my deals closed, but the most important thing I want in a mortgage partner, besides customer service to my clients and feedback, is reciprocation.

My mortgage guys in Dallas understood this and they always referred me buyers almost as much as I referred them buyers. I understand I would have the bulk of the buyers, but I shouldn’t be the sole source. They had their own marketing and social networking going on and in place that yielded them leads and referrals, and with a “I pat you on the back, you pat me on the back” type of mentality, we exchanged referrals back and forth and helped grow each others’ businesses.

Since coming here, all I’ve done is give give give, and have received nothing.  As I said, yes, they got the deals closed, but they have all looked at Realtors as their source of business and have never put into place a way to generate their own business, even though, during our interview process, each one made it very clear that they had several ways of generating outside business. I even sat down with one of them for two hours to show him some of the ways I utilize the internet and that he could do the same thing. I usually charge $150 a session for those consultations (I’m also a TREC approved instructor and teach prospecting and internet classes for MCE), yet I did it for free as I thought he would take the information and generate new business.

With that brief synopsis of what I expect, if you feel you are a mortgage person who would work well with me as a partner, helping to grow each others business, please feel free to call me.  I see your dad is the branch development manager so I’m assuming there is some kind of marketing in place, but I wouldn’t want to assume.

Warm Regards,

Guess what?  No response!!!

Can you believe I received no response whatsoever?  This mortgage person contacts me, wants to do business, but why do you think she never responded?  Me?  I think she was/is just another mortgage person wanting wanting and wanting more from me, the Realtor. 

Why do (some) mortgage people feel they are entitled to just sit back and make the Realtor do all the work to generate business and then expect them to hand over their business? Take a number and stand in line... and get over yourself!!

Realtors: What do you think of my pre-interview before meeting with her?

Mortgage Professionals: How would you have responded to my email?


**Are You Packed Yet?** 

donna harris Realtor Austin TX blog

Donna Harris, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Austin Skyline

Austin TX Real Estate and the surrounding areas of Lakeway, Bee Cave, West Lake Hills, Cedar Park, Round Rock, Spicewood, Circle-C, Steiner Ranch, and everywhere in between... Hill Country Austin TX Real Estate and beyond. Whether you're buying or selling an Austin home, I'll be with you every step of the way. 

For real time Austin TX listings, click here.

** #1 Agent in my Office for all of 2008 **

Copyright© 2009 By Donna Harris, All Rights Reserved. You may re-blog with links back to this post.
* Hey Mortgage People - Do You Want to Grow your Business or Not?? Get over yourself!! * was first published on

Comment balloon 21 commentsDonna Harris • November 16 2009 07:53PM


I especially liked the "warm regards."

All of what you say is true. Vendors that leach but don't feed me back get removed from my "list."

You and I have blogged about this before and we should continue doing so until every lender on the Earth gets it!


Posted by Greg Nino, Houston, Texas (RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP) almost 11 years ago

I think it speaks volumes that she didn't respond!  Not even feigning some interest.  Wow.

I hope your are enjoying Austin.

Posted by Jerri Schick ( almost 11 years ago

Greg, I feel like a broken record saying it time and time again.  I had a few good ones trained, and now I have to start over...

Jerri, VOLUMES!!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 11 years ago


You asked for an honest opinion, so I'm going to give it based on my own perspective and experience in my area. I don't consider myself a leach and I don't have a lot of referals to give out. My Realtor's and I have a great relationship without this type of expectation. My focus is to get the job done and to communicate with my Realtor's everything that needs to be done to close the loan on time. My focus is to be available to my agents whenever they need my help, Monday through Sunday. I write preapprovals, consult my agents and clients, take applications, and get the job done in a timely manner.

I also work with my agents on business development and lead generation. I don't get a ton of clients who are ready to buy a home who don't already have a realtor in mind. It seems everyone knows a realtor and has talked to them before they connected with a lender in my area. So, I work with my agents on helping them get the clients. You may have been in a different environment that allowed your previous lenders to generate referals to give to you. If I could actually generate good solid leads to give to my realtors, I would. Once in a while it happens, but not as often as you've stated in your area. A $150 consultation would be worth it to pay if I could learn something new that would generate those leads to give. So far, I havn't found it. I have, however, taught my agents several great marketing ideas that have generated leads for them.

If that's not worth anything to an agent, them I'm not your lender. My agents value who I am as a lender, marketer and many times as a friend. You can't put a price on that.


Posted by Anthony Ebright - NMLSR ID #247647 Purchase and Refinance Mortgages (FHA, VA, Conforming, Jumbo - Wells Fargo Home Mortgage) almost 11 years ago

P.S. I forgot to say, I would have replied to you in both an email and phone call to discuss what I just wrote and more. I hit the submit button prematurely. ;-)

Posted by Anthony Ebright - NMLSR ID #247647 Purchase and Refinance Mortgages (FHA, VA, Conforming, Jumbo - Wells Fargo Home Mortgage) almost 11 years ago

I guess I've always thought what Anthony was saying to be true.  I have a couple of lenders I love here, but haven't expected referrals in return.  Maybe I'm going about it all wrong?  Obviously I would love them to give me as much business as I give them.  I'm definitely going to look further into this and see how many referrals they have to give...and who do they give them to?  Only the top agents like yourself?  I still can't believe no response.  That's just unprofessional! 

Posted by Aja Shroll, Your Home Girl (United Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

Donna-  I love your way of thinking.  I have only had 2 referrals from loan officers in the past 4 years.  If they want my business - they should be doing more for me!

Posted by James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORSĀ®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes, When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move (Real Living | At Home) almost 11 years ago

Donna - I'm not sure what's funnier, the letter the LO sent you or that you didn't get a response to yours.  First and foremost, I want to preface this by saying that this is just my personal opinion based on my personal experiences and observations.

I'm going to guess that the LO was a newbie and that her broker and/or father probably told her that she needs to solicit Realtors in order to build her business.  I'm assuming this because this is what all my previous mortgage brokers told me to do in order to grow my business.  One of the best things I liked about moving to Cobalt earlier this year is that my current broker has never told meto do this.

The reason you probably didn't get a response to your letter is that after reading your letter, the newbie LO realized that you weren't just going to hand over business to her but rather, she was going to have to work for it by actually generating her own leads and business.

I learned very early in my mortgage career that soliciting Realtors for clients was not going to be the foundation of my business and ever since then, I have spent my marketing time, energy and dollars focusing on generating business with buyers and building my own database of clients. 

In doing this, it has allowed me to be more selective in who I refer my clients to.  I don't refer any of my clients to any Realtor that I don't personally know, trust, respect as well as one that I have worked with before.  The Realtors I refer to are Realtors where we have both made the effort to get to know each other and learn about how we work; very similar to your pre-interview.

That being said, my Realtors friends/partners are Realtors that I met through working together on a previous transaction either through one of my buyers (who already had their Realtor when they came to me) or I met them across the table when they were representing a seller.  In some cases, some of my Realtor friends/partners have referred me to other Realtors in their office.

Overall, I don't get a lot of referrals from Realtors (about 10% of my business), which is about the same as I refer out too.  Most of my incoming Realtor referrals come from my Realtor friends/partners and all my outgoing Realtor referrals go to my Realtor friends/partners. 

I get the whole reciprocal relationship.  It's too bad that so many Realtors and LO's don't understand this concept but rather just expect us (LO's and Realtors) to just hand over our clients (people we worked hard to get) to someone we don't know and have absolutely no relationship with.  SERIOUSLY???

Sorry for the long comment but you just brought up a pet peeve of mine.  Like you, I find it annoying to get solicited by people (i.e. Realtors) who don't know me and have never worked with me who want me to give them my clients.  LOL

Posted by Donne Knudsen, CalState Realty Services (Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA) almost 11 years ago

Donna: Thanks for the post. Therein lies the problem. In my view, we have a weird relationship to begin with. There can be too many expectations when there really should be none. I'm thankful that I receive referrals from a broad spectrum of partners. In fact, my best referral partners this year have been financial advisors, not realtors. I also don't really pursue realtors that hard. I like who I know and love to help them if I can. Again, I believe if there are no expectations, that's a much better way to build a relationship. As far as your give, give, giving, good for you! We all should give and then give some more. Go get a copy of "The Go-Giver". There's a great message there. Have a nice day!

Posted by Paul McFadden, Pest Control, Seattle, WA. (Paratex) almost 11 years ago

Well it is a two way street...but you ALWAYS respond!!

Posted by J Perrin Cornell, Broker, ABR, VAMRES (Coldwell Banker Cascade Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

Hey, Donna. I am with you on this one. I interview everyone that I work with and I hold everyone to the highest standards. I guess in this case, it is good that they did not respond and you got to see this prior to them dealing with any of your clients. Thanks and have a great day, Jim

Posted by Jim & Maria Hart, Charleston, SC Real Estate (Brand Name Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

Anthony, How can you say you help your agents with lead generation and marketing, and then that you don't give them anything? If your agents think you're not giving them anything with what you're giving, leads, then you're working with the wrong agents.

Aja, And that's how I was the first 3-4 years in real estate. I didn't know I should be expecting more, and the mortgage people loved it.  I've been doing this over 9 years, and trust me, the "good" mortgage professionals have business to refer.

James, Yes they should!

Donne, Many of the mortgage people I used to work with were also people who were on the other side of the transaction. I liked how they kept me posted throughout the transaction, and we worked further deals together.  They also had their own referral bases.

Paul, WHy should there not be expectations?  If you go on a job interview, your potential boss has expectations for whomever gets hired. I have the same expectations. I'm not going to hire someone without knowing where things are going.  How do I know when to fire them? And why aren't you referring out the people that your financial advisor referred to you?

Perrin, Yes, it is a two way street.

Jim, Exactly!!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 11 years ago

I have been giving all my business to the same lender and have been wondering what kind of referrals they have to give back. He is always offering to help with marketing projects like mail outs and seminars; do you think that is sufficient? However, his wife is also a Realtor, in my same firm! If I put money on it; that's where his leads are going... Hmmm....

Posted by Taylor Shults Philley, Broker, Realtor , GRI (Austin Realty Firm) almost 11 years ago

Donna, I guess I wasn't clear. My marketing efforts and ideas that I share with my agents have generated leads for them. I believe that is giving them something. Again, if I have a lead to give, I give it to my top agents, but I'm not in that kind of environment. You said you get as many leads from your agents as you give to them. That's one for one. I'm saying, I don't have that many to give, but I have ways to help my agents generate new leads. These leads would never have come to them without my help. I believe that is giving them something of value. Again, if I could generate as many leads as my agents do, I would do the same thing your loan officer is doing. Thanks for generating an interesting conversation.

Posted by Anthony Ebright - NMLSR ID #247647 Purchase and Refinance Mortgages (FHA, VA, Conforming, Jumbo - Wells Fargo Home Mortgage) almost 11 years ago

Anthony, You completely misunderstood my response. I agreed that helping your agents generate leads is helping to build their business.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 11 years ago

Good Morning Donna, You're right! I did miss read it.  It was a little too early in the morning for me. Thanks for setting me straight! Cheers!

Posted by Anthony Ebright - NMLSR ID #247647 Purchase and Refinance Mortgages (FHA, VA, Conforming, Jumbo - Wells Fargo Home Mortgage) almost 11 years ago

I work in a rather successful group in my market. Many times I have lenders approach me for "our business" not so much mine. The agent that I work with has been in the business for 30+ years and loan officers seem to approach me with the intentions of getting to him which is kind of a slap in the face on its own. The new trend though, now that I have been selling real estate for 6+ years is that they seem to want my business and never have the intention of reciprocating. Why does a complete stranger deserve a shot at one of my clients that I have worked hard to get? If you are a loan officer out on the prowl for business then try bringing a new client to a realtor before expecting us to fork over our clients.

The fact that the LO didn't even bother to respond at all just shows a complete lack of professionalism. It's okay if she doesn't have clients at this time to refer to you, maybe she would have in the future...

On a side note - I just visited a friend in San Antonio this past weekend and we drove up to Austin for the day. WOW - what a great city!!!

Posted by Cara Pearlman, Realtor - ABR, SFR (Frankly Real Estate, Inc) almost 11 years ago

You spent some time on your response.... Maybe you should copy and paste that letter next time.


Posted by Tom Burris, Texas/Louisiana Mortgage Pro - 13 YRS Experience (NMLS# 335055) almost 11 years ago

Cara, Exactly!  How can I refer the mortgage person someone when I have no idea how they will treat them?

Tom, Mortgage PROFESSIONALS like you know how this business works and you treat your Realtor PARTNERS well.  You doing any business in Austin?

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 11 years ago

Donna --


Great post!  I've been telling this to my LO all the time!  Unfortunately their online capabilities are not the greatest, BUT they are by far the best that I have used in a long time (closing on time, costs, client feedback, and accessibility). 


We have been trying to teach them how to generate leads and hopefully they catch on soon... otherwise it might be time to go out and find a LO who can reciprocate!

Posted by Nick Good, (The Good Home Team with eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago

Nick, That's like going to a restaurant with great service but horrible food. You keep going back because the server has a nice smile...

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 11 years ago