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No-Nonsense Guide to Mortgage Leads [+5 DIY tactics]


Where to buy mortgage leads


You can get mortgage leads as a new agent without paying a fortune. Think it's an impossible dream? Doing a little work on the front end allows you to build a system for consistent new leads. Take a look at where to start!


What Are Mortgage Leads for Loan Officers?

Mortgage leads provide the names and contact information of people who have expressed interest in new mortgages and refinancing. Loan officers use these leads to contact potential clients in need of mortgage services. Leads are typically sourced from surveys, online interactions and ad engagement. Quality lead providers often provide category-specific lead options that allow loan officers to drill down on specific client segments.

Yes, most loan officers source at least part of their business using leads. You should also be using leads if you're trying to get new mortgage clients. However, getting access to relevant leads is always more important than "hoarding" leads. You need to know who to attract. Specificity beats volume. Always remember that your return on investment (ROI) from a lead can only be calculated after you add in all of the time you've personally spent nurturing the lead. Yes, getting leads is always going to be something of a volume game simply due to the nature of the "revolving door" aspect of being a loan officer. However, learning how to get mortgage leads with good ROI without cold calling huge batches of names is critical for avoiding dreaded broker burnout. This is where knowing about the different types of mortgage leads matters.


The Different Types of Mortgage Leads:

Broadly speaking the industry has 5 types of mortgage leads. That said, some specialized vendors may create subcategories. 

  • Traditional mortgage leads: Traditional mortgages are sourced from customers filling out online forms, papers, surveys or other forms of sales messaging. Generally, traditional leads are nonexclusive leads. That means that the same traditional lead can be sold to multiple brokers unless it has been designated as an exclusive lead. However, sold doesn't mean used up. Rest assured that a good chunk of the agents with the same names in hand dropped the ball by not giving their leads proper attention within the first week.
  • Internet mortgage leads: Considered high-quality leads, Internet mortgage leads are generated at the point where the customer is actively searching for information before speaking to a loan officer. These leads are being captured based on their search queries.
  • Aged mortgage leads: Aged leads are leads that are further along in the funnel. Aged often means "closer to closing." Most aged leads are 30, 60 or 90 days old. While it's not necessary to deal exclusively with aged leads, utilizing them strategically can provide a much-needed closing-rate bump. Like traditional leads, they are the results of customers filling out paperwork, surveys or sales messaging.
  • Exclusive mortgage leads: Considered the premium lead option, an exclusive lead means that you are the only person getting the lead. However, some exclusive leads are semi-exclusive leads because they are sold to a limited number of loan officers. While exclusive leads cost more than traditional leads, they provide deeper insights regarding the type of loan a customer needs. This allows you to show up with a "crystal ball" when making your pitch. ROI is generally much higher with exclusive leads.
  • First-time homebuyer leads: These leads allow you to focus on the niche of first-time buyers to take advantage of the fact that first-time buyers are usually the most motivated buyers. In many cases, first-time buyers are ready to work with the first broker willing to reach out, answer some questions and help them find options for conventional, FHA, VA and USDA loan options.


Where Can I Buy Mortgage Leads?

There are many lead companies providing high-converting, targeted mortgage leads out there. Mortgage leads can very easily be purchased online. The companies that specialize in mortgage leads are typically marketing firms that allow you to purchase different types of lead campaigns. While most mortgage lead providers allow you to purchase one-time batches, it’s also possible to purchase recurring lead subscriptions to ensure that your funnel is always being replenished. If you’re a new loan officer, consider dabbling in a few different places to get a feel for what working with different types of leads can feel like. Well-known companies such as Lendingtree and Experian sell mortgage leads.


Typical Cost of Leads for Loan Officers

The cost of a mortgage lead ultimately comes down to the quality of the lead you’re purchasing. Generally, the range for mortgage leads of all types is between $25 and $150. It’s also important to remember that your ability to manage your leads using an automated, intuitive system that maximizes the potential of every lead is going to boost your ROI through higher conversion rates.


The 3 Best Mortgage Lead Sources

Where should you go to buy mortgage leads? There's no shortage of lead providers on the Internet offering access to leads for loan officers. First, don’t be shy about asking your associates where they get their leads if you’re part of a firm. In fact, you can consider asking an associate specializing in a completely different area of the mortgage/home-buying process where they get their leads. Many local real estate agents in your area may also have good tips about where they source leads from because there are often overlaps for mortgage brokers and Realtors in the lead world. If you’re ready to press the button on buying some leads right away, these three lead sources are regarded as offering some great options for brokers:

  • Lead Snap Marketing: Ideal for using one source to get exclusive, semi-exclusive, aged and traditional real-time leads all in one place, this lead provider focuses on both new buyers and owners looking to refinance.
  • Data Axle™ Genie: This lead provider is considered a top choice for specificity. You’re able to pinpoint targeted leads using “likely to move” data points that can include renters with children, owners who have been in their homes three to five years, owners with high interest rates and more.
  • Experian: If you feel more comfortable going with a major company for your first round with leads, Experian actually sells lead lists broken down by categories like mortgage loan types, renters who may be looking to purchase a home, military loan opportunities and candidates for reverse mortgages.

Most mortgage officers are going to rely on paid leads for at least a portion of their total closings. However, branching out beyond paid leads can help you to gather leads that other loan officers in your area aren't catching. Next, take a look at how to whip up DIY mortgage leads while strengthening your reputation.


How to get Mortgage Leads


5 Ways to Generate Your Own Mortgage Leads

Buying mortgage leads is a good option. It's not the only option. There are many DIY ways to attract leads.


Be a Content Architect

Be someone who knows what they're talking about. How do you do that? Build content of tutorial-level quality. Get positioned as the instructor instead of the salesperson. Here are some ways to make amazing authoritative content that drives traffic to your site, establishes you as a friendly authority and builds trust:

  • Create explainers on how mortgages work.
  • Create "workshop" blogs on tips for getting approved.
  • Create checklists for what people need to get ready to apply for mortgages.
  • Answer frequently asked questions (FAQs) about mortgages.
  • Debunk common mortgage myths.
  • Share "secrets" of the mortgage industry.

Build a niche based on an unfilled need in your local market. That means steering your content toward financing rehab homes if you live in an area with lots of older, abandoned homes. Maybe there's a loan program that's pertinent to your area that you can be the go-to expert on. Balance it out with text, video and graphics. Make sure you're actually delivering content instead of just teasing with filler. However, you should leave enough unanswered that your call to action (CTA) prompting viewers to reach out for more guidance is powerful.


Keep SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Local With Your Online Presence

Keep it local because you can win local. Trying to go too broad with marketing because you think it's all about becoming the "mortgage king" of the country is counterproductive. You'll never gain the traction to get there if you don't win local first. There's simply too much effort and capital being pushed out by the "big dogs." Your niche is the smarter focus. Don't forget to get registered for free on Google My Business to create a free business profile that makes your business easier to find.


Always Include Your Service Area When Creating Content

Be married to your geography. Pepper your service area into your content naturally. Trying to shoehorn in geographic locations takes the reader out of the moment. Here are some ways to make sure your results appear for people looking for mortgage lenders in your service area:

  • "So many of you have asked me about how to get approved for a mortgage in Chicago, Illinois."
  • "Many of my clients are excited about Chicago mortgage rates right now."
  • "I have some news for people looking for the best mortgage rates in Chicago."
  • "Are you wondering how to find the best mortgage lender in the Chicago area?"
  • "Let's talk about getting approved for VA loans when buying a home near Chicago."
  • "Chicago FHA loans are popular at the moment."


Can you see the trend? Attach what people are searching for to the areas they're searching from. Feel free to add as many towns, cities, neighborhoods and communities as necessary based on your coverage area. 


Check Your Metadata 

While simple, checking your metadata can help you get leads. Your metadata is what shows up when people search your keyword on Google. While the "Goliath" sites always pop up first, Google favors local just below the big players. Set your metadata to something like "Chicago Mortgage Broker" to zip past your competitors who don't know about this trick.


Go Straight to Sellers

Every home that gets listed for sale in your territory is a default lead generator. Someone who lists their home is almost guaranteed to have "buying a new one" on their mind. Browse new listings daily to build your own lead lists. The benefit of going with someone who is selling is that the tension of balancing a sale with a purchase makes them eager to prequalify for financing on the new property. The address of the home being sold is all you'll need to mail a letter. 


Forge Some Real-World Professional Relationships 

Yes, lead generation is heavily digital these days. Tapping into local real-world sources can help to balance out the emphasis on using systems to get leads. The easiest way to do it is by networking with local professionals with shared interests. Reach out for referral partnerships with the following: 

  • Financial planners.
  • Divorce lawyers.
  • Estate planning lawyers.
  • Realtors.
  • Local banks and credit unions that don't provide in-house lending services.

These relationships are powerful because your future lead has already chosen to work with a specific lawyer, financial planner or Realtor because they trust them. That means they trust their opinions. Being on the giving end of a referral also helps you by making you more resourceful for your clients.

Ready to bulk up your lead list? Don't burn yourself out! Focus on perfecting one or two of these tactics before branching out!