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A mortgage broker’s job is so much more than just running numbers.

Unfortunately, in today’s turbulent real estate market, hopeful home buyers are up against a host of daunting concerns. According to a 2022 study, personal financial knowledge and financial advice are some of the primary concerns for Gen Z and Millennial homebuyers. The study also shares common challenges homebuyers are facing in today’s market:

  • High cost of living (59% of respondents affected)
  • Mental health or anxiety (33% of respondents affected)
  • Personal financial knowledge (30% of respondents affected)
  • High debt (29% of respondents affected)
  • Unfavorable interest rates (27% of respondents affected)
  • Job stability (25% of respondents affected)
  • Healthcare costs (22% of respondents affected)
  • Finding trustworthy advice (20% of respondents affected)
  • Education expenses (10% of respondents affected)

As a mortgage professional, you know that homeownership is a highly important dream to most Americans. Achieving this milestone can be wrapped up in a bunch of complex emotions, never mind dealing with all of these pesky roadblocks. That means that listening, supporting, and showing empathy becomes a big part of the gig…

How Can I Show Empathy to Clients?

Empathy means sharing and understanding the feelings of others.

In terms of your mortgage business, that might mean providing a listening ear, reading body language, or helping solve a particularly painful problem. Basically, it’s the social-emotional component of your job as a mortgage professional.

Whether you’re brand new to the mortgage industry or a seasoned pro looking to brush up on your skills, we’ve gathered some tried-and-true methods you can use to show empathy to your clients.

1.   Practice Active Listening

Active listening is critical in exercising empathy. That’s because presence and intentionality are at its core.

Active listening means going beyond simply hearing what has been said. Think of it as actively engaging in the conversation, even when you’re not the one speaking. This might include making strong eye contact, responding to non-verbal communication cues, and being genuinely invested in the conversation. It also means withholding any judgment.

And the benefits? Your clients will feel heard and supported before you even have a chance to share your home loan expertise. It’s not always about finding a solution right away, but about being there for your clients and providing a listening ear.

2.   Respond With Care

Now that you’ve proved yourself as a great listener, it’s time to deliver an empathetic response.

 To start, share a bit about your sincere desire to help. Tailor your suggestions to the client’s specific situation to demonstrate that you care about them personally. Validate their emotions while getting specific on what you can do to help them achieve their homeownership goals.

 For example, if their student loans are preventing them from qualifying for the loan program of their choice, perhaps gently educate them on the power of a debt payoff plan and reassure them plenty of others are in the same boat.

 Or, if they haven’t been able to find trustworthy advice from previous mortgage pros, share your credentials and let them know you are here to be their go-to home loan resource every step of the way. It never hurts to share a story of a borrower you’ve helped in the past in a similar situation.

3.   Take Appropriate Action

At this point, it’s time to take action! After all, empathy goes far beyond the initial conversation. You’ll need to practice it every step of the way.

 Start by sending the client a list of the next steps, including language that addresses their challenges. For example:

 “Step 1: Total all student loan debt.

Step 2: Send that figure my way.

Step 3: We build your custom debt payoff plan together, to drive down that debt and get you into your dream home!”

 Then, follow up. Provide updates as needed, remembering to address their core concerns. Take on an ownership role, compassionately guiding them through the work.

 Finally, at the end of the process, remember to ask for feedback! This final show of empathy truly proves that you care about their experience and what they have to say.

Final thoughts: Empathizing with Borrowers' Financial Challenges

There’s no denying that it’s hard being a homebuyer right now! The good news? You, as a mortgage professional, can provide a little relief.

By employing empathy through your listening strategy, responses, and action items, you can best support your clients through it all. They’re sure to walk away feeling understood, confident, and content. And you might just walk away with a great review! Or, who knows, maybe even a referral?

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