Relocating? Well do I have a niche for you
There's been an accident. How it happened I don't know, and why the only result from this terrible accident is that I've lost my leads, database, and past sales, I'm not sure. But that's what Thomas Nelson imagined us to envision in this month's ActiveRain contest. So how am I to start over!?! What niche will build my business faster? Establish a database? A network? An expertise resulting in 5 star reviews and client referrals? How will I stand apart from the competition?
Relocations. Clients moving from one area to another. For work. For school. For a new life. Whatever the reason, the relocation mortgage niche requires expertise, effort, and a customer service experience that varies greatly from the typical mortgage loan officer's repertoire. For that reason, mastering the tools to help relocating clients results in great reviews, and a quickly expanding nationwide network of referral partners.
So how do you establish a relocation niche as a loan officer? For one, you have to know your products inside and out. Which products allow for future income to be used as qualifying income? How do you establish the papertrail for that income? The paperwork is different for a college reseach role VS a military relocation VS a doctor beginning residency VS a government agent w/clearances and roles that prevent relocation paperwork from being public. As a relocation expert, you encounter many scenarios and have to know what can or cannot be done.
When you know your products, you need to understand the unique needs of a relocating client. Often times, children are switching schools and families are being uprooted from communities and family they're used to having close by, so it typically makes for more anxiety and stress. For that reason, it's more important than ever to ensure a high level of service and an easy loan process.
And finally, to be a relocation expert, you have to be legally able to work in different markets and know how to work in them. You have to understand how things work in an attorney state VS a title state VS an escrow state. You have to know the transfer taxes across state and county lines, and which charges a buyer is customarily responsible for. You have to know pitfalls that could sink a deal or cause a major delay if they catch you by surprise (the fact that title takes 2 weeks sometimes in the northeast VS just a day or 2 to come back in California, or the fact that a survey is required in Delaware, and that the 1st state also has the highest transfer tax in the country, but if you're a first time home buyer in it's most populous county (unless you're within certain city limits), you get a discount! Each state is unique, with unique costs and rules that could make or break a deal for a buyer that puts their trust in the wrong place. Every November, I do continuing education for a dozen states (with more to add this year), and make sure I keep up with any changes in the states I do business in.
Many loan officers are licensed in multiple states, but usually they're at Federally chartered banks with no licensing requirements for individual states (aka they have no requirements to know the ins and outs of each state) or they're licensed in areas on states nearby their place of residence. I go against the grain with licenses in hubs that people relocate to and from - California for the economy, Florida and Texas for warm living and no income taxes, the northeast because of the major corporations, Colorado because of the influx of buyers moving to that market, Maryland and Virginia because of the influx of government and military employees, and the list goes on....
If there's riches in niches, there's tremendous value and opportunity to helping relocating clients. I've had the pleasure and honor of working with some amazing people throughout the entire country and industry, and have become a resource to those in need of professional services in many of the states I work. The relocation niche is a tough go because of the education, licensing requirements, and the knowledge needed to navigate across state (guide)lines, but for my money, I can't think of any other niche I'd rather be a part of.