There’s a lot of misinformation, perpetual myths and urban legends in the mind of your average consumer about getting pre-qualified for a mortgage, shopping for a home and buying the property.
Your credit union has an opportunity to straighten things out. How? Through hosting a series of home buyer seminars — whether monthly, quarterly or bi-annually. You could even explore the concept of an online webinar for digital or remote delivery.
Why should home buyer seminars be a part of your credit union’s mortgage lending strategy to the local community? Here are 10 reasons:
- 1) Home buyer seminars show that your credit union takes an interest in making sure local residents have the tools they need to work on their financial health. It reveals how your credit union is interested not only in their mortgage business, but their financial well-being and capability to make the biggest purchase of their lives. If you partner with another locally owned third-party organization, company or seasoned expert to speak at your event, the more authentic your credit union will be perceived to attendees. No hard-sales pitch; just reasonable advice from trusted sources who know home buying inside and out.
- 2) Tangible touch point to balance out the over-consumption of what local residents are “seeing and hearing” online. Every potential buyer is at a different knowledge level depending on what they’ve read on the internet or heard from a friend, and many are lacking in this area. A friendly seminar pushes them in the right direction without making them feel uneducated or naïve. Many will relish the fact they are getting the latest and greatest information directly onsite from an insider’s perspective.
- 3) Learn “who” your community is (families, workers, household demographics, etc.) and what it is dealing with. If you routinely hold seminars, use them as test labs. Take notes and compare/contrast the questions, comments and habits of attendees over time. You’ll learn how to adjust and tweak your mortgage message to a variety of first-time buyers since they are all in different situations. Compare the exact circumstances they are facing. Maybe even take some quick written or verbal surveys.
- 4) Home buyer seminars educate your credit union as to whether it should be involved in more types of mortgage programs and lending opportunities (or less). There’s a web of different government mortgage programs out there, as well as state and local “affordability” programs, initiatives and grants for first-time and hardship buyers. How do the mortgage products and services your credit union offers compliment these outside efforts?
- 5) Sets proper expectation for home buyers. They will leave the event with a deeper understanding and respect of everything it takes to originate a mortgage for them — and the reasons why. Such an education builds trust and sets proper expectations before the process begins. Their admiration of the way your credit union delivers a mortgage will probably increase and proper expectations lead to a more satisfied member.
- 6) Home buyer seminars filter out individuals who are ready to get pre-qualified for a mortgage and purchase a home versus those who have more work to do. You will learn who is an immediate buyer versus a future buyer. It’s a chance for them to interact and engage with your credit union’s mortgage philosophy and products. You could even offer incentives, such as waiving the origination fee if they attend the first seminar or a series of several seminars.
- 7) More speaking/networking opportunities with partner organizations in the local region. If you are consistent in your delivery and your message is strong, other local organizations, companies and group initiatives may request that your credit union present at their events. It could be the beginning of a yearly calendar full of educational seminars where your team plugs in the dates and makes the tour rounds.
- 8) Long-term ROI (return on investment). With some patience and persistence, the energy and expense you invest in networking and educating your local communities will eventually garner a big payoff compared to what you put into it. As your mortgage team gets into the groove of holding seminars, it will eventually realize that nothing beats free, trustworthy information from a local source, especially from a credit union.
- 9) New member possibilities. No matter what type of membership or community your credit union serves, home buyer events install a potential pipeline of consumers who may be able to become members. And for existing members, it’s a chance to sign them up for digital marketing (monthly or quarterly newsletters and information pieces that are not “salesy”).
- 10) Community Investment. Local consumers, households, business leaders and public officials will see and hear what your credit union is all about. Use it as an opportunity to display how you are different; that you facilitate seminars because you are member-owned and care about people, not profit. It shows your credit union and its members are long-term beneficiaries of investing in the community around them.
Home buyer seminars are a tried and true path to educating your membership, dedicating yourself to financial literacy and building the wealth among your membership. They are also a great way to growing your community and membership. Add a home buyer seminar to your to do list now and slowly you will see the home buyer growth among your members.