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Agent Matters
January 2018

Lenders and Agents - Top Influencers on Mortgage Decisions

by Steve Deggendorf, Director of Market Insights Research, Fannie Mae
Mortgage Info Source Graphic To better understand the kind of influence that both online and personal sources of information have on the mortgage shopping experience, we asked recent mortgage borrowers about their experiences with real estate agents, mortgage lenders, friends and family, and online sources of information, such as mobile apps, websites, and social media. The survey sample was constructed from borrowers who obtained purchase money mortgages in 2016 that landed in the Fannie Mae book of business.
What We Learned
The survey found that the most influential sources of information for borrowers are industry professionals who offer a personal touch: mortgage lenders (32 percent) and real estate agents (30 percent). Notably, online sources (13 percent) lag well behind person-to-person interactions. Among those surveyed, Millennials reported using both online and person-to-person resources with similar frequency when they shopped for their mortgage – but they said that personal interactions, not online sources, were the most influential. Overall, mortgage lenders, real estate agents, and family and friends are seen as more trustworthy and credible than online sources, which were ranked primarily for their convenience.
Hold the Phone
Consumers do have an appetite for online resources during the mortgage-shopping experience – respondents said they want to use mobile devices nearly twice as often in the future.
So, to be competitive, real estate agents must evolve their digital offerings to provide an omni-channel experience that allows consumers to move conveniently between online and personal interactions.
For more,
read our Perspectives article.

Estimates, forecasts, and other views expressed in this article should not be construed as indicating Fannie Mae’s expected results, are based on a number of assumptions, and may change without notice. How this information affects Fannie Mae will depend on many factors. Neither Fannie Mae nor its Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group guarantees that the information in this article is accurate, current, or suitable for any particular purpose. Changes in the assumptions or underlying information could produce materially different results. The ESR Group’s views expressed in this article speak only as of the date indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of Fannie Mae or its management.

Customize, Download, and Go – Access to Free, Quality Marketing Materials

By Andria Peiken, Fannie Mae Marketing Specialist

Creating professionally designed materials that inform your customers on topics like the home buying process, down payment assistance programs, or mortgage products is never an easy feat especially when you're juggling an ever growing "to do" list.

Wouldn't it be such a timesaver if these pieces were written and designed for you, and you could customize each piece to make it your own?

The Fannie Mae
Marketing Center, which was launched last year, is designed to do just that! This online tool is free, and allows lenders, agents, and other housing professionals who sign up access to a variety of materials that they can customize and leverage in their outreach efforts.

"I heard about the Marketing Center from a friend, and after creating an account I found it so easy to customize the Home buying Tips and Resources flyer," said Cindi Potsic of Houzio Realty. "I can use this piece at open houses or with potential clients because it has really helpful tips and resources on buying a home for new, potential buyers."

The Marketing Center allows users to easily add logos, colors, product names, photographs, and more, resulting in tailored marketing pieces – such as flyers, email templates, and FAQs.
And while it benefits lenders and brokers because it offers professionally designed and written marketing materials to market low down payment mortgage products like HomeReady® Mortgage or refinance products like HARP, it also has pieces that real estate professionals like Potsic find helpful, such as the Home buying Tips flyer or Condo Guide. Plus, many of the materials are also available in Spanish.
"I like that I can customize a flyer and download it to my computer, and just print a few copies at a time when I need them," Potsic said. "Plus, it's free, and the materials look so professional. Why wouldn't I use it?"

Postic isn't alone. Since launching last year, the number of agents, lenders and brokers using the Marketing Center has grown to over 4,500 users, and over 7,000 downloads have occurred. In addition, each of those downloads represent numerous copies being made, since users can email or print the pieces at their convenience. 

In 2018, Fannie Mae plans to expand the number of marketing materials available on the Marketing Center, giving its users more options on the types of materials available to customize and make their own.

If you are interested in learning more about the Marketing Center,
click here to view this brief one-minute video. Then sign-up at

Properties with Professional Photos Get More Views

by Jennie Tal Williams
With studies showing that professional photography sells homes 32 percent faster – and at the best price – Fannie Mae is pleased to announce that it has engaged VHT Studios to make high-quality photos the standard for all renovated HomePath® Pro listings. Professional photos are now ordered on 100 percent of repaired properties at the time they're ready for listing.
"It's a no brainer," said Fannie Mae Director of Loss Mitigation, John Thibaudeau. "Properties with professional photos get more views than those without. And buyers are more likely to move past the first picture."
Baltimore Century 21 Agent, Gina Gargeu agrees. She works with Fannie Mae and has used the new photography system with her HomePath listings.
"The buyer is going to look at 20 houses online before they even talk to an agent," she said. "Because the buyers are now looking online before they look at a property in person, having professional pictures done ensures that their first impression is a good one."
Many HomePath agents have already caught on to the benefits of photography, said Fannie Mae Sales Director, Brandon Lawler. Some were paying for professional photography themselves (like Gargeu); some bought semi-professional camera equipment and took the photos and others had a friend or colleague who moonlighted as a photographer and could help from time to time. But, even when the photos were great – and often they were great! – they weren't consistent between listings.
"So, us taking this on is a benefit to agents and to us," said Fannie Mae Sales Director, Brandon Lawler. "Obviously, for the agents who were already doing this, it's a huge cost savings and those who weren't now have the photos. And for us, it's a benefit because we get consistent photographs of the repaired properties no matter where they're located. We've spent a lot of time and effort repairing our properties and those things lend themselves to be highlighted with professional photography."
Palm Desert, CA, Coldwell Banker agent, Denise Francis, who has been taking her own photos for years with semi-professional equipment, says she appreciates what Fannie Mae is doing because it shows that it takes real pride in the repairs it is making and the homes it is selling. Even with the years of work she's put into learning photography, she knows the pros take things up a notch.
"My camera can only go to a certain level," she said. "But the professionals – their cameras are able to capture lighting I can't; they can get a wide angle. And, for an agent that doesn't know how to take a photo, it's night and day. This is the complete package. Now, we have move-in ready properties and professional photography showing the best features. I believe these homes are going to seller quicker and at better prices."
While photos are ordered on all repaired properties, HomePath has a very wide and diverse footprint, so not every single home listed is benefitting from the photography at this time. VHT Studios is the country's largest and original real estate photography studio and is currently covering about 75 percent of our orders. Its national network of real estate photographers and image specials hope to eventually reach an excess of 90 percent of HomePath homes.
"VHT Studios is extremely excited about this partnership, and with 20 years of experience, we are committed to a proven and convenient process through our national presence and full-service team," said VHT Studios CEO Brian Balduf. "Our dedication to providing the highest quality photography is strong and our entire team looks forward to enhancing the marketing of Fannie Mae HomePath properties to increase home buyer appeal and move homes more quickly."
Adding professional photography to the process has been completely automated for our agents, so there's nothing you need to do. As soon as the property is ready to be listed, the order goes through and – within three days – the photos are published on our website and you receive the listing. So far, we've heard great things from our agents. Check out all of our listings on the
HomePath site today!