LoanShout Academy: Preapproval Best Practices

LoanShout Academy
November 8, 2021

In our last blog post, we looked at how to create a preapproval dashboard. Today we are going to look at how to make preapproval dashboards work for you. Preapproval dashboards are the first impressions you make on your agents and clients during the homebuying process. They are simple and easy, but they are also super effective at introducing agents and clients to just how good you are at your job.

A single agent referral is worth thousands of dollars to a Loan Officer. If you’ve received one, then it’s important to give your agent the white glove treatment they deserve for entrusting you with their livelihood. If you’re working with an agent for the first time with a client who wasn’t referred to you by that agent, then this is your big chance! Your first opportunity to blow them away starts with your preapproval.

Sure, the average LOis going to do all the things they need to do to get their client preapproved, but they are going to finish up by sending just a simple email to the client and agent saying that they’re preapproved, they may include the preapproval letter, but they likely don’t have a format or a process that transmits all the info necessary for a super-competitive offer. This still leaves a ton of communication that needs to be done and will create a ton of back-and-forth between the agent and the loan officer. They will ask the minimum financing contingency, the minimum close time, what the interest rate is, or what the LTV is etc etc. This puts the loan officer on the back foot and forces them into reactivity. This prevents the LO from them controlling the narrative and the deal. Most importantly it prevents them from controlling their reputation and the agent's perception of their professionalism.

Much better to be on the front foot. The last thing you want is for the agent to feel like your babysitter. Instead, the goal is to make them feel comfortable in the hands of a professional. Being proactive in your communication is going to set you so far apart from your peers that the agent won't be able to help but trust you on their future deals.

In addition to making agents feel comfortable, preapproval dashboards will increase the likelihood of your client’s offer being accepted because it reduces the amount of turn time between wanting to write an offer and actually being able to write that offer. Houses are staying on the market for fewer and fewer days and they are receiving more and more offers. Allowing your agents to make an offer as soon as they want will increase the likelihood of their offer being accepted. This is yet another way to increase the likelihood of receiving future referrals from your now pleasantly surprised agent.

Best Practices:

Step One: Creating the preapproval dashboard and having LoanShout send out the automated updates is great. However, adding a bit of texture with personalized emails in response to LoanShout updates is where the real value is. When you send out an automated email through LoanShout by creating a pre-approval dashboard, it looks sleek and professional. However, no automated email can replace the personalization of a plain text email sent directly from your email account. The best thing to do after creating a new pre-approval dashboard is to immediately reply all to the Preapproval Invitation email with a quick two-to-three sentence greeting. For instance:

Thanks so much for going through the pre-approval process with us! We’re so excited to work with you on your upcoming home purchase. Click the link below to see all of the information you need in order to write a competitive offer.

This one-two punch of automation plus personalization is going to make you look like the kind of person who is professional enough to use automations but caring enough to watch them go out and reply to them quickly. You’re a consummate professional after all.

Step 2: When you upload a preapproval document (or any document) to a preapproval dashboard, all parties on the preapproval will receive a Document Uploaded email. It's important to follow up with a personalized reply to these emails as well. Again, this can be very simple and short, but it's important to show that you're not just an automated system. You’re a person who quickly follows up when action has been taken.

Step 2 has two possible approaches. Both methods are great, and we suggest you tailor them to the specific agent whose business you are trying to win or maintain. If you sense that this agent is a real go-getter, kind of a mess, and is impressed by a lot of activity, then you should choose Option One.

Option One: If you have already created the actual preapproval document when you’re setting up their dashboard, then you can upload it directly after creating the pre-approval dashboard. This does clutter the inbox a bit but that could be advantageous when showing an agent just how on-the-ball you are. Because uploading a file to a preapproval dashboard sends out an alert email, this means that the agent will receive:

  • An invitation to the dashboard,
  • A first personalized follow up from you,
  • Then a notification that a document has been uploaded,
  • And finally, a second personalized email reply to the Document Uploaded notification.

That’s a lot of emails, so choose wisely who you use this method with.

Option Two: This is for agents whom you presume are a bit more refined and who prefer a more orchestrated or rhythmic experience. In this situation, if the preapproval document is not time-sensitive, then we suggest you suggest you follow Step One above as normal. After an hour or two wait, upload the preapproval PDF. After that you will respond with a personalized email about the preapproval document. Something simple like:

See the email below for a link to your preapproval PDF and other pertinent documents!

This makes this makes it look like you have been working on their client’s file for a couple straight hours nonstop, and that you are gently guiding their client and this agent from loan application to a solid preapproval with a professional set of tools.

That’s it! Those are the best practices. The TL;DR is that you should always reply with a short, simple response to any automated email that goes out.

The ROI on a proper preapproval process is astronomical. The value you add to already-trusted referral partners alone is enough to justify doing this correctly every single time. This nurtures valuable relationships and makes them considerably “stickier.”

The real money is found when preapproving a client for a new-to-you agent. You have 4+ touchpoints on Day One that will absolutely woo them to your side. This is the setup that will allow you to absolutely crush the actual purchase transaction and then follow-up with a simple: “Did I do a good job? Will you send me your future business?” If executed properly, the answer will be “Yes” 30+% of the time.

Have any tips and tricks you use to generate referrals as early as the preapproval? Let us know!

Sean Grapevine
Sean Grapevine

Sean is the founder and CEO of LoanShout.

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