Being a successful Broker means asking your clients key questions in order to build their story and ultimately provide the lender with a complete credit application. A complete application helps the underwriter evaluate the application efficiently.
This begins with understanding the complete picture.
This is the first step to ensure you articulate your client’s story to the underwriter clearly and effectively.
1. Prepare a checklist of questions
Take the time to create a checklist of questions to ask your borrower that are not necessarily part of the basic application. We discussed previously the importance of asking open-ended questions. Asking these questions effectively will help gather information in key areas and increase your chances of success.
2. Explain why the small details matter
Be clear and up front with your borrower from the onset; helping them to understand why every detail of their situation is essential. If there are any challenges, knowing these details helps you select the appropriate lender to deal with that specific challenge. This helps mitigate any closing-day surprises.
3. Dig deeper to understand ‘Why?’
Your borrower’s story is a lot like the typical iceberg metaphor. What we see above the surface is only a portion of what is there. Most of the iceberg is below the surface – unseen and waiting to be discovered. While you may feel that you have a good grasp of the borrower’s situation initially, you need to ask the “Why?” questions to dig and probe deeper to uncover what happened in the past, or what the borrower’s true financial focus is right now. By doing so, you can not only fulfill their immediate needs, but also help them to fulfill their long-term goals.
4. Take notes
Asking the right questions and getting deep into the borrower’s situation is a great first step. Next, you’ll need to document what you have learned. Not only is this important in terms of your ability to articulate their story to the underwriter, it also creates a strong partnership with your borrower. Perhaps you have learned about when your borrower wants to retire, or when their kids are going to university, or when they hope to buy their next car or buy a summer home. All these life events provide valuable information about your client’s future financial needs. This information should be documented in your database with follow up dates, because it gives you wonderful opportunities for touch points with your clients in the years to come. That’s the level of service that binds your client to you and gets you the referrals needed to truly build your business.
5. Ask your borrower to provide supporting documentation
Underwriters will want to see supporting documentation (e.g. receipts of payment on an old collection or judgment, copies of co-signed loans or investment statements). More documentation provided up front helps underwriters evaluate the file with efficiency and confidence.
By having a deep understanding of your client’s story, you are able to submit a complete application to the right lender while also develop an enduring partnership with your client.