Loan officers can also narrow their focus to a particular specialty, which allows them to accentuate their skills and helps set them apart from the crowd. Joy Prisching of Key Mortgage Services was a loan officer for 13 years before she found her niche in Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) loans. In 2016, the IHDA named her the No. 3 Loan Officer in Chicagoland.
Because most of her clients are first-time homebuyers, Prisching brings a teacher’s mentality to the process. “I do love the education for the first-time homebuyers. I love taking the time to work with them to make them understand the process.”
To create her own unique niche, Prisching learned how to embrace challenges as opportunities to learn, grow and improve her expertise. “Understanding the client’s specific needs is so important before you see what they can qualify to buy,” she says.
Getting the word out about your new specialty is the first key to success, Prisching says. She recommends using traditional promotions efforts combined with word-of-mouth marketing. Whether she’s giving a presentation or collaborating with a new group of real estate agents, she makes sure to introduce the down payment assistance program offered through IHDA loans.
Prisching’s strategies for building a business can be applied across all specialties throughout the real estate field. The marks of a good loan officer, she says, are the ability to listen to the client’s needs and an understanding of how to communicate clearly and effectively. Her willingness to guide clients through every step of the process has helped her develop a steady client base and build long-term relationships. She estimates that 90 percent of her business comes from referrals.
“If you take just a little extra time to work with the client through a couple months of a process, it’s going to open up many more doors from family and friends that might need the product,” she says. “Take the time to talk with them, no matter the amount of the loan. It can help them find the home they want.”