Lenders are often approached by Realtors looking to partner simply to increase their advertising budgets with little to no planning and strategy set up before hand.
When entering into a compliant co-marketing partnership lenders should do their due diligence before handing over the keys and the company credit card.
Here are a list of questions lenders should ask before entering into a co-marketing partnership with a Realtor.
Is The Realtor Expecting To Cover More Than 50% of Their Zillow Advertising Budget?
The proportional share of advertising lenders can cover and remain compliant is widely debated and subject to interpretation of RESPA section 8 rules by your chief compliance officer or corporate council. After investing a small fortune to retain the expertise of some of the most well respected compliance attorneys specializing in RESPA section 8, the key takeaways are:
- One party cannot provide a thing of value or “off-set” expense for the other party.
- A maximum of a 50/50 cost share is logical as each party pays half the advertising cost to generate home buyer leads.
- If the Realtor only covers 10% of their overall advertising budget, either you or a third lender is covering 40% of the Realtor side cost, thus off setting part of the Realtors advertising budget (A clear violation of RESPA)
How Many Listings Do You or Your Team Have?
Millennials, in particular, are waiting much longer in the home buying sales cycle to engage a human. This trend strongly favors agents that specialize in the marketing (listing) of homes due to the high probability a buyer will reach out to the listing team directly when they are serious.
If you are burning cash with a buyer’s agent on Zillow, the return on investment will generally be a small fraction of what it would be in comparison to partnering with a listing focused team.
- Listings consistently produce the strongest buyer leads without exception.
- A properly marketed listing will generally produce at least one incremental buy side transaction.
- The listing is “the point of sale”. It provides an opportunity for additional engagement through marketing assets such as flyers and/or landing pages.
Do we have a system/process to facilitate collaboration while maintaining transparency and compliance?
Leads generated as a result of a shared advertising budget should be made available for collaboration and nurturing to each party assuming each party is sharing in the cost. Billions of dollars in mortgage loan volume are left on the table each year by lenders who participate in Co-Marketing and advertising, yet fail to have a proper enterprise level system set up to manage the vast number of Realtor co-marketing relationships, and the leads generated from those relationships.
Many Realtors generate leads with lender dollars, yet never give the lender access to those leads for collaboration and nurturing. The best brands in mortgage aim higher than simply being a source of money for a Realtor partner. Relationships based solely on money never least and certainly never become a meaningful source of business.
Here are a few best practices for setting up an enterprise-wide co-marketing system for tracking and oversight:
- Use technology such as Total Expert or another solution that officers centralized lead management and Lender + Realtor collaboration to engage and add value to home buyers throughout their buying journey.
- Obtain a copy of the Realtors paid invoice and store it in the cloud for potential CFPB audits. It’s a slight hassle, but so is dealing with the CFPB or state agencies if they ask for documentation on your Co-Marketing efforts.
- Avoid investing marketing capital with agents that are not interested in a collaborative relationship, or refuse to be transparent with leads and compliance related issues.