How to Build Trust with Reverse Mortgage Prospects: Part 1:

Communication is Key

You can hold a home in living trust, or create a trust fund for the next generation. But building an emotional “trust fund” with potential reverse mortgage clients — one you can draw upon throughout the sales cycle — is not as simple as a monetary investment. Creating trust calls for a wealth of skills that must be both genuine, and polished to a high gloss.

Building trust is an art form. The average reverse mortgage sales cycle until purchase is nine months — the amount of time it takes for a baby to be born. It’s an apt metaphor. In birthing their reverse mortgages, the seniors you serve are initiating a major life change that can be thrilling and scary at the same time.

What’s more, the manner in which reverse mortgage professionals interact with prospects is changing, from face-to-face “meetings at the kitchen table” to Call Center referrals, where you may never see your prospect in person. While Baby Boomers are often more comfortable making purchases by phone or even over the Internet than their forebears, it’s also true that one’s home is typically the largest asset someone owns, and transacting a reverse mortgage with a faceless originator requires a high level of trust in the person, as well as the process.

Here are several keys to developing client rapport:

Be highly knowledgeable. The more you know about the nuances of reverse mortgages, and how these options affect your target market, the easier it will be to build a trust-based relationship.

Communicate clearly and honestly. Share the disadvantages as well as the advantages of a reverse mortgage, e.g.:

  • Do your prospects understand that the consuming equity from a reverse mortgage would otherwise be passed to their heirs or estate?
  • What if they want or need to move due to health issues or changing priorities, just a year or two after securing a reverse mortgage?

Listen deeply to their story. Why is this couple or individual looking into a reverse mortgage now? What’s driving them? This is your best starting point.

In Part 2, we’ll look at factors that influence seniors’ ability to trust, as they grow older.
Reverse Mortgage Trust, Build Trust with Reverse Mortgage Prospects

4 comments

Ed Frankel October 4, 2011 at 7:46 pm

“trust is achieved not created.”

Reply
Amara Rose October 5, 2011 at 11:41 am

Hi Ed,

Thanks for reading and commenting! Would love to know the author of this quote; it’s not one with which I’m familiar.

Whatever verb we use, I think we’re in agreement that trust is the cornerstone of a successful outcome for both reverse mortgage professionals and their prospective clients.

Reply
James E. Veale, CPA, MBT October 6, 2011 at 1:52 pm

The most feared detriment that few originators discuss with their clients is the tax liability which could be imposed on heirs due to a balance due on termination exceeding the value of the home in foreclosure, or any similiar transaction. The situation can be worse as a result of short pay.

Offsetting that is the possible deduction of accrued interest.

One thing is clear, borrowers should have sought the advice of a tax professional before closing a HECM. Unfortunately most originators are afraid that they could be inviting another roadblock into the closing process. Nonetheless, tax advice is an important aspect of getting adequate information and normally a person who is dependent upon the HECM closing to obtain compensation is not the right party to provide it.

Reply
Amara Rose October 6, 2011 at 6:47 pm

James,

Thanks as always for your insightful and eminently useful contribution. As you know from experience, financial discussions can be challenging at every life stage; they are crucial to making an informed decision about a reverse mortgage.

Reply

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