I once closed a loan for a business manager who represented pro football players. He introduced me to his newest client, the highly recruited place kicker, who had just moved to the area and needed to buy a home. I introduced him to a real estate agent. I closed the loan, then I did five more mortgages for his other team members.
(Just a side note: Have you ever read a pro football player contract? When they say it's "worth" $10 million, it's really not. It's only worth that amount of money if they perform certain milestones like making so many touchdowns, passes, field goals, get to the playoffs, etc.)
With a lot of lenders offering jumbo loan mortgage products and non-qualified mortgage loans, there is also an increase in affluent home buyers who are back in the market to buy or build a home.
I am writing this article because a couple of dozen loan officers have recently asked me, "So, Karen, where do you find affluent buyers in the first place?"
Here's what I know for sure — finding affluent buyers is mostly about networking, connections and referrals. The traditional flyers, emails and marketing strategies usually don't work with this niche.
Here's what else you should know: They are successful because they are detail-oriented. They are usually high-maintenance They are usually more frugal than your typical home buyer. They are more likely to negotiate everything. Oh, and having a great jumbo loan product doesn't hurt either!
So, where do you find affluent and millionaire home buyers (or refinances)?
Here's a list of my suggestions:
1. Network and show up in places where affluent buyers might congregate.
a. Charity functions
b. High-profile sporting events (golf or tennis tournaments, polo matches)
2. Network with people who sell things to affluent buyers.
a. Yacht, private airplane or luxury automobile dealers
b. Real estate agents who specialize in high-priced homes
c. Custom homebuilders
3. Join clubs that affluent buyers belong to, like country clubs and sailing clubs.
4. Join groups that affluent buyers belong to.
a. The local bar association
b. Accountant/financial planner groups
c. Attend seminars and trade shows where company owners congregate
5. Offer the www.CorporateBenefitsKit.com mortgage savings programs to employers. Company owners often take advantage of the discounts, too.
6. Check tax lien filings in public records. They may have equity in their homes for much-needed cash.
7. Contact clients you have done loans for who know high net-worth individuals.
8. Check high-profile divorce proceedings. Divorce usually means the splitting of assets, which could mean buying another home or refinancing.
9. When it comes to professional athletes, network with their business agents.
First of all, I want to reiterate that each one of the suggestions listed above is its own niche within a niche. And, yes, you will have to spend money to hang out where they hang.
Yes, you will have dress the part (more money). And it takes a concentrated effort to create a referral network and keep in touch on a regular basis before you start getting leads.
But, my experience has been that once you get your foot in the door, know your loan product inside and out, and religiously keep everyone in the transaction updated, you'll find that you’ll start to work with more high-end clients, meet interesting people and make more money.
Karen Deis is the publisher of www.MortgageCurrentcy.com. She can be contracted at Karen@loanofficermagazine.com or post on www.Facebook.com/KarenDeis.