Real estate agent referrers – are they still relevant?

Creating a strong online presence is important in the current environment – but that doesn’t mean real estate agent referral relationships are a thing of the past. In fact, they are just as relevant as ever for brokers in light of the challenge COVID-19 has brought to both lending and the property market.

These are the views of RateMyAgent CEO and founder Mark Armstrong. He spoke with MPA on the importance of the broker/real estate relationship in the current environment and why doing the hard yards will help brokers build lasting referral networks.

In a previous life, Armstrong used to run a mortgage broking business. He said the way they used to build strong relationships with real estate agents was by getting the tricky deals across the line.

“In mortgage broking, there’s easy deals and there’s hard deals,” he said. “Real estate agents, they just want to refer to someone and know they’re looked after. They don’t want someone giving them feedback that the mortgage broker couldn’t do the job.”

If a broker is able to get those really tricky deals across the line, it creates greater confidence for the real estate agent they have partnered with, prompting more and more referrals through this source.

Read more: Building strong bonds with real estate agents

As the founder of RateMyAgent, Armstrong is a big believer in the power of digital marketing. The platform recently expanded to incorporate a mortgage broking tab; creating web reviews that brokers can use as digital marketing assets. Armstrong said that customers expect any professional or business they deal with to have a web presence nowadays. In fact, googling a person’s name is usually the first port of call for a consumer when referred to a broker, real estate agent, lawyer - or any professional, for that matter.

Despite this, Armstrong also believes that the agent/broker referral relationship is just as important as ever.

“If we look at the way real estate agents are changing the way they work, particularly in the COVID world, real estate agents just want to be working with qualified buyers,” he said. “One of the questions that most agents are asking nowadays is, I can take you through the property, but have you got your finance approved? Are you ready to buy?”

Read next: 5 ways to stronger, better referral partnerships

This is happening more and more; many agents refusing an inspection if the person is not a serious buyer, he said. Instead, agents want to work with pre-qualified buyers - and knowing they have a relationship with a good mortgage broker who can confirm the person is ready to go finance-wise is certainly a valuable commodity.

“I think that relationship’s becoming more important in this COVID world,” he said.