Most loan officers have a love/hate relationship with technology. It’s great when it works as advertised and it can be frustrating when it doesn’t.
One of the biggest benefits of technology is the convenience it provides. A job that traditionally requires face to face interaction with agents or clients, can now be done from the comfort of one’s home.
There’s a lot of “how-to’s” to consider when getting set up to work from home:
- Meet with clients that prefer face to face interaction
- Explain things that are easier explained in person
- Make a prospect comfortable with giving their personal information over the internet
- Collect docs from non-tech savvy borrowers
We put a lot of thought into these questions, as have our dozens of clients across the country. Together, we have come up with a list of tools that you won’t want to work from home without! Check out the list, and a comprehensive explanation of each tool here:
If you’ve never used Zoom before, you’ve really got to get with the times. Zoom is a video conferencing software that is extremely user-friendly and very reliable. Best of all, FREE.
With a Google Calendar integration, you can set up virtual meetings with the click of the button. (There is also an integration with Calendly, but we’ll get to that shortly.) Those you invite to the meeting will receive instructions on how to log in and attend. They can install the app to login on their side (on PC, Mac, ChromeOS, or iPhone/Android). If they have any trouble installing the app, they can log in via a b browser alternatively.
Zoom supports video conferencing, screen sharing, recurring meetings, call recording, and so much more! If you’re interested in checking it out for yourself, head over to https://zoom.us and create your free account today!
There’s probably not a tool we get asked about more than a synchronized calendar scheduling application. There are more than a couple of tools out there, but what we use and recommend is Calendly. Calendly allows you to send a link (or embed one in the signature of your emails) to prospects, agents, vendors, clients, or anyone else asking for your time, and have that person select a time on your calendar that works best for them.
Calendly can sync up to your Google or Outlook calendar. It references the available time slots along with any other parameters you outline to show only time slots that work for you. In other words, you can avoid the back and forth while trying to coordinate a good time to meet.
One of the best features of Calendly is your ability to set up multiple appointment types (each with their own unique booking link). This allows you to send out different links based on different appointment lengths, different time buffers for before/after your appointment, different locations, etc.
As mentioned earlier, Calendly also offers a Zoom integration that will automatically set up a Zoom meeting and provide a link and login instructions for anyone who books on your calendar. Or, for bonus points, you can choose some appointment types as having a Zoom meeting associated with it, and some as a phone call or physical in-person meeting location.
For advanced users, and the reason we use Calendly specifically, they support “Team Events” that allow you to reference multiple calendars either ensuring that everyone on the team is available, or showing the availability for everyone on the team separately allowing the person booking to pick the time most convenient for them based on multiple people that can perform the same appointment (think: salespeople on a round-robin for having appointments booked).
Calendly does offer a free version with limited functionality, but we recommend the Premium version at $8 per user per month for access to the Zoom integration, multiple calendars, Zapier functionality, and the ability to add links to your confirmation page (think: 1003 link or a link to a needs list). Check out https://www.calendly.com for more info.
This is a tool that every LO should have in their toolbelt, whether or not they work from home. Ever had a borrower send you pictures of their bank statements, pay stubs, signed disclosures, or EMD check? Of course, you have. If you haven’t, you probably haven’t originated many loans in your day. Next time this happens, ask them if they have an Android or an iPhone, and send them one of these two links:
If you don’t have this app on your phone already, or something like it, you may want to download it now as well.
Camscanner allows you to take pictures of documents, and it will automatically crop out the parts of the picture that aren’t the document (table, bed, floor, etc), brighten up the image and convert it into a PDF so that it looks like a true copy of the document.
Tools like this have been around for years now but we’re shocked at the # of LOs that I talk to that are still dealing with this issue. Best practice for using this app is to set proper expectations in your Welcome or Needs List email, expressing that you NEED the documents to be in PDF format and providing the links to the Camscanner app there.
This way, you can avoid having to push it back on them later.
This one is a non-negotiable, must-have for your business. If you don’t already have it, click on one of those two links from your phone, download it, and start testing it out.
If none of the tools we’ve listed so far have been new for you, this one’s for you. Screencastify is a screen recording tool. This Chrome browser extension allows you to record your screen with the click of a button. It automatically saves a copy of the recording on your Google Drive with a shareable link. Sending a borrower instructions on how to print their transaction history with the correct time/date stamps has never been so easy!
The lite version of Screencastify is free. This gives you up to 5 minutes per video, and the ability to include your webcam and/or microphone as part of the recording. While we don’t necessarily use the webcam function, the microphone is a necessity so you can record your explanation while navigating/recording your screen.
Another potentially great way to use this app, especially while working from home? Explaining Loan Estimates and Closing Disclosure explanations! While recording, when you click on your screen it highlights the area that you’re clicking so you can highlight each section of your disclosures and provide an explanation for the fees in each section. Pre-record this when you’re working on a file late at night and you can avoid having to coordinate an appointment to go over the disclosures live.
We all know video content gets more engagement than just about any other communication medium. Unfortunately, most of us are far too uncomfortable on camera to implement video as part of our marketing strategy. However, we’ve found that a screen recording with an embedded webcam feed is a great way to overcome this! Try recording your screen as you scroll through mortgage current event articles, rate charts, or any other document/publication that you can provide some context/explanation for. Then, send this out to your database or post it on social media and watch your engagement soar!
Check it out @ https://www.screencastify.com.
This last recommendation is arguably the most important if you don’t have something in place. However, it also takes the most effort and money to get started (although still not very expensive at $49/mo). This is for LOs that don’t work for a big company with an integrated customer-facing 1003, process notifications coming from their CRM, a document upload portal, etc. Some of our clients have all of this provided by their company. But, if you’re a broker or a banker working for a smaller company, this tool can be a game-changer.
Consider Floify your consumer-facing 1003, mobile app, disclosure eSign portal, automated follow-up for applications started or already taken (needs list/condition follow up), customer-facing document upload portal, and mortgage calculator lead capture tool all-in-one!
We could spend all day talking about what Floify can do. But, the best way would be to describe a customer journey from start to finish. We don’t know a lot about the lead capture functionality, so we’ll skip that and start from the point of sending out the app link.
Let’s say you’re following up with a lead that a realtor gave you, and they’re requesting that you send them a link to your online 1003. Well, you can input their name and email address into Floify (or for advanced users, push it from your CRM using Zapier), and they’ll receive an email that says that you’ve created a profile for them. All they have to do is login and set up their password. We love the psychology being used here. It implies that you have already done the heavy lifting for them. All they have to do is set the password!
From there, the borrower signs in and uses a very user-friendly, game-like interface to complete the 1003. You can remove and add questions to the 1003 to customize it, or use their standard option. They even support the new URLA format for whenever that is finally implemented and standardized!
If the application isn’t completed, you can pre-program automated reminders via email, text message, and push notifications. This ensures they will get back to finishing it whenever they have time.
Once the application is complete, you can have a needs list sent to the borrower. The needs list changes based on the different responses on the 1003. Self-employed borrowers can receive a different needs list than your W2 borrowers. Or, if they claim a rental property in their REO, you can request the appropriate documentation. ALL AUTOMATED!
Once the borrower is approved, you can send them their pre-approval letter directly from the app! You can use their template option or create your own based on your company’s compliance requirements, preferences, etc.
You can also associate your real estate agent partners with their respective leads. This allows you to share as much or as little information with them as you’d like via their own login or automated milestone updates as the borrower moves throughout the process. (Yes, the system supports different milestones and pre-programmed updates throughout). In addition, you can give your agents the ability to generate pre-approval letters on their side based on the parameters you set up for the borrower’s approval.
There’s likely so many features and capabilities that we’re leaving out here, but you get the picture! If your company is not tech-friendly, or you are a broker without an online 1003, Floify is a must-have.
Check them out @ https://floify.com.
Working from home or not, these tools can help you launch your business into the 21st century if you’ve fallen behind the times. All of these tools are tools that either we use every day, our clients leverage and highly recommend, or some combination of the two.
If you’d like to know more about how we can help you leverage these tools in conjunction with a system that fills your pipeline with high quality leads that reach out to YOU, keep reading to learn more about Empower Funnels. Otherwise, use these tools to make your business more efficient than ever before!
Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you at the top!