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The danger of assumptions

As a broker, it is likely that you work with a wide variety of clients who have varied levels of knowledge about home buying. Some may be extremely savvy while others have only a novice understanding. Working with mortgages day in day out can desensitise you to that learning curve and even lead to you to make assumptions about how much your clients know. That could leave your clients feeling confused and frustrated.

Even your sharpest clients could have gaps in their knowledge and first-time buyers are unlikely to be familiar with industry acronyms and jargon.

Learn more: Supporting Clients in Challenging Times

Communication

As with most aspects of your business, communication is key. However, it’s important to avoid making any assumptions in your conversations with clients. No matter how well-versed and practised they may be, there’s no guarantee that they have heard or remember all of the terms you are using. 

Be sure to fully explain any sector-specific term. From maturities to APR (Annual Percentage Rate) to remortgaging, your client may not know the difference. 

Don’t worry about the possibility of explaining things they already know. You most likely won’t offend them and could save your client a fair amount of stress. A simple way to achieve this for any sector acronyms is to explain the abbreviation in brackets as we did above for APR.

A note on vulnerable clients

You may come across clients who are struggling or overwhelmed. Or they may just have different needs to work through the process. Whatever the case may be, creating an open line of communication is critical. 

Identifying vulnerable clients requires gentle enquiry and careful listening. Making assumptions here can be especially detrimental. Clients can have vulnerability without it being immediately obvious; they may be experiencing bereavement, divorce or a number of other invisible issues. Take the time to be especially communicative and clear in these circumstances.

Learn more: Podcast #22 - How to support vulnerable customers

Glossary

Another great way to help your clients and share knowledge without making any assumptions is by sending a quick guide covering mortgage terms as part of your process. In fact, it may be helpful to take note of the sector terminology and phrases you use most frequently and turn them into a glossary of sorts. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got a basic glossary you can use:

Get your copy: Client Guide - Glossary of Legal Terms

The process

Aside from industry jargon, you can never assume that someone fully understands the mortgage process. There are many things that could be unexpected for them. Each person, home and mortgage is different. To ensure that your client is well aware of each step of the process, find a way to guide them through it. 

One option to help get your clients acquainted with the home buying process is to show them this video: Understanding the Home Buying Process.

No matter how you decide to help your clients, the important thing is to ensure that their questions are answered, that you haven’t left room for surprises or confusion and that they are able to reach out should they have any concerns or enquiries.

Making assumptions can lead to misunderstandings and a frustrating client experience. 

To avoid letting assumptions steer a good relationship wrong, be sure to communicate clearly with your clients. Don’t rely on sector terminology alone and give your clients the tools they need to understand important phrases. And be certain to cover the entire process with them, to ensure there’s nothing they might be caught out by. 

Keeping an open channel of communication is also vitally important to give your clients the opportunity to ask questions. Brokers are well placed to help clients navigate mortgages and answer queries. Unlike online mortgage finders or other alternatives, you’re able to create a personal connection and tailored guidance.

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