As you begin your real estate career, you’ll likely be introduced to a variety of affiliates. These include mortgage lenders, home inspectors, closing attorneys, general contractors, insurance providers, and many other people and companies associated with real estate. Think of your affiliate partners as your allies. Here are four reasons why you should get to know your affiliate real estate partners.
1. To give your clients a smoother transaction
When buyers and sellers need help finding a mortgage lender or a home inspector, they will likely ask you first. Part of providing the best customer service is knowing who offers the best services in your area based on your clients’ needs. When you can recommend affiliate real estate partners that offer quality service, you ensure the transaction will run smoothly—and you build trust.
Consider developing an affiliate section on your website or in a handout that you give to new clients. Remember to add several affiliates under each category (mortgage, inspection, insurance, etc.). That way you’re not playing favorites, and your clients can choose the affiliates that best suit their needs.
2. To become a well-rounded real estate agent
When you’re in constant contact with your affiliates, you’ll stay abreast of changes in their industries that may impact future transactions. You’ll also learn more about what they do and how they can help your clients. Plus, you’ll pick up tips and tricks that can help make you a more well-rounded agent.
3. For access to free client resources
Be careful. Ethical guidelines prevent you from establishing relationships with your affiliate real estate partners that provide a monetary benefit for referrals. This Q&A from Realtor.org provides info that can help you avoid any wrongdoing.
However, being able to provide your clients with free resources that they won’t find anywhere else is a good reason to establish a good working relationship with title insurance companies, appraisers, home inspectors, and other affiliates. The resources your affiliate real estate partners provide can be simple and useful. Examples might include a downloadable checklist for home inspections, a rate comparison document for local appraisers, and a look at how your mortgage payments are calculated by lending institutions.
4. To cross-promote your services
You’ll want to refer to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, or RESPA guidelines, to make sure that you are not establishing an inappropriate relationship when cross-promoting your services with your real estate affiliates. But sharing the costs of marketing so that you and your affiliate real estate partners both benefit from the promotion is acceptable. RESPA does not discourage joint advertising as long as both parties pay an equal share of the costs.
Reach out to your affiliate real estate partners
Now that you understand why it’s valuable to develop working relationships with your affiliate partners, it’s time to start making connections. Ask your colleagues for referrals, hand your business card to any real estate affiliates you meet, develop a contact list, and keep notes on the various affiliate partners you work with.