Opinion: Stop speaking mortgage to your clients

Imagine if you can: It is Friday. You are out to dinner. You have looked forward to this night outsince Monday. The hostess greets you with the following: “Good evening. I need to let youknow that some of our BOH are absent. We 86’d a third of the menu in order to notmispack anything. To reduce the number of one-stars, all of our dishes will be served SOS. Wewish you a fine dining experience but please no camping.”

Or better yet, the following Monday you visit your local Minute Clinic. (It must have beensomething you ate Friday night.). While there, the doctor informs you, “We suspect it is GERDthat is causing your angina. It appears to be acute and the nurse notated no edema.”

In both instances I cannot imagine you are 100% following what is being told to you regardless how much effort you apply to using context clues. Additionally, I am sure neither interaction leaves you with the warm fuzzies.

As mortgage professionals, I see us falling into these common traps. We speak a specific jargon. This jargon is what distinguishes us as professionals; however, our clients do not speak our language. And this is a good thing. If our clients spoke “mortgage” they would need us less.

Starting today, let’s make a pact to only speak to our clients using words and phrases which make sense to them. Here are some recent examples that come to mind with regard to how we can take a mortgage sales talking point written incorrectly and rewrite it for our audience:

LO: Let me talk to you about our 2-1 buydown with a 3% seller contribution.

Borrower: Huh?

Instead, the MLO should have stated, “I have a way for you to achieve discounted payments upfront and we can use seller funds to pay for this feature.”

LO: FHA just lowered their MI Premium from 85bps to 55bps.

Consumer: …<crickets>…

Instead, the mortgage adviser should have stated, “Great news! The average monthly payment just dropped $75-$100 per month for homebuyers using FHA financing.” Or, “Recent changes have increased the purchasing power for homebuyers using FHA financing by over $10,000.”

Don’t think properly choosing one’s words only applies to mortgage sales professionals.
Operations staff equally need to pay attention to how they communicate to home loan
applicants. Asking for an “LOX” or stating that you are just waiting on a “VOE” is not acceptable. This is like the server telling you all dishes are served “SOS” or the doctor notating no signs of “edema.”

Although we are home finance professionals, we work in the service industry. Our clients are
typically nervous and often a little scared. Our role in the transaction goes beyond clicking all
the right buttons to ensure a homebuyer’s transaction funds.

We need to provide a client experience unlike any other. We should strive to give options and offer the proper guidance based on our proficiency in the basics of personal finance. The achievement of the above starts by building trust. Trust is had only when proper communication has been established. The establishment of communication begins with using words and phrases that are universal and not specific to select industries.

Dustin Owen, CMB, is the vice president, Eastern Sales Division, for Waterstone Mortgage in Florida.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of HousingWire’s editorial department and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Dustin Owen at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Tracey Velt at [email protected]

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