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How to Get Mortgage Referrals and Build a Referral Network

A successful mortgage loan officer relies on referrals as a source of business. There are some simple strategies that will help you maximize your referral partners to keep steady business coming in. Remember, it’s more cost-effective to work a warm referral than it is to work a cold lead. So it’s wise to invest time and money on your main referral sources.

how to get mortgage referrals

Consistency, as usual, is the key with mortgage referrals. A consistent strategy will lead to a steady stream of mortgage leads and new potential borrowers for you to work with. Once you have a system in place to get loan referrals, the sky’s the limit!

Make sure to grab our full guide to Building Your Referral Network by clicking here.

Partner with Real Estate Agents

One of the best ways to get referrals is to partner with real estate agents who want to work with a trusted lender—you just have to make sure that’s YOU! When you’re starting out, it may be easier to target newer agents to partner with. Once you’ve established rapport, you’ll be able to attract more seasoned real estate agents.

The key to building long-term relationships with real estate agents is making sure the partnership is mutually beneficial! Ask the agent what they would like to get from you and how you can be of most help to their business. 

Here are some ways you can add value to your real estate partners:

  • Attend real estate industry events and conferences.
  • Host joint seminars or workshops with realtors.
  • Offer valuable market insights to real estate agents.

For more strategies on how to market to real estate agents, click here.

Partner with Homebuilders

Partnering with homebuilders is a great way to generate new referrals. What they want most are qualified buyers, ease in the home loan process, and for their homes to be sold quickly. They also know that qualifying buyers can take a lot of legwork.

You can help them by assisting potentially interested buyers and taking control of the loan application process right out of the gate. One strategy that works well is to offer to sit at open houses so that you can qualify buyers as they come through and provide on-site pre-approvals.

This ensures that they don’t miss an opportunity with a qualified candidate because they aren’t pre-approved when they walk through the home. This is a real value-add for builders and also gives them an incentive to have buyers work only with you.

You can also offer them unique programs that can help them sell inventory quicker. Interest rate buydowns (APM offers a 3-2-1 and 2-1 buydown) are especially helpful in today’s market. And programs like APM’s Keys on Time offers something else builders want: an on-time closing! If we don’t close on time, APM will issue a closing cost credit to the buyer.

You can also offer to create co-branded marketing materials, social media, and email marketing campaigns to help your builder promote and bring attention to their new home developments. Driving new traffic to their site is a big benefit to the builder and shows your commitment to their success.

Stay in Front of Past Clients

Satisfied past clients will likely be a great source of referrals for your mortgage business. Customer referrals are usually very warm leads. People place a lot of value on recommendations from friends and family—especially in this day and age, when it’s so easy to ask for recommendations on social media.

But if past clients can’t remember what loan officer they used (or don’t know you’re still in business), they can’t refer you to someone else. This is why it’s so important to stay in touch and top of mind with current and past clients.

The best way to get a referral from previous clients is to stay in touch with them on a regular basis in a personal way that keeps your contact information at their fingertips. When someone asks for a mortgage recommendation, you’ll be the first one they think of. Don’t be afraid to occasionally remind your previous clients that you’re never too busy to help friends and family who may be looking for a loan.


One way to stay in touch with your referral partners and former clients on a regular basis is to send frequent email updates with valuable content. Reach out to them once or twice a month with information they may find interesting. These emails don’t always have to be related to mortgages (nor should they be).

Text alerts

Assuming your customers have opted in to receive regular updates from you, text messaging can be a great way to build and cultivate long-term relationships with current and past clients.

For current clients, sending messages regarding loan status updates and loan milestones can help you stay ahead of the game with your customers. You can be proactive and set up automatic text updates for different milestones throughout their loan. 

For past clients, sending invites to customer appreciation events, notifying them of equity alerts, and sending a text when rates go down can be great ways to engage with them in a non-spammy and authentic way. 

Social media

Another good way to stay in touch with people and generate more clients is to meet them where they are every single day—on social media. Don’t be afraid to interact with people on social media on a regular basis. If people feel like you’re a friend, you’d better believe you’re going to get their referrals.

Social media platforms are an especially good place to post video, which people are particularly likely to click on. Video does a superb job of connecting with people and building those personal relationships that lead to more loan referrals. Better yet, videos don’t have to be all about getting a mortgage—they can be fun and personal.

Remember special occasions

As a mortgage originator, creating ongoing referrals comes down to the small details that can make a big impact. Don’t forget to acknowledge special occasions in your clients’ lives, like birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. It’s also a nice idea to remember the date they bought their home (and that’s a great time to offer them an annual mortgage review).

For more about connecting with clients on social media, see our article here.

Talk to Friends and Family

In the mortgage industry, loan officers often assume everyone understands what they do. But we all know what happens when we make assumptions.

Are you tapping your friends and family with feelers? Do those who know you best know that you’re looking to expand your business? Have you shared with them what lending services you provide? Most importantly, have you asked them for referrals?

There is no easier ask than your friends and family. So make sure that they know what you do, that you’re open to taking their referrals, and that you’re ready to serve their friends.

Ask for Reviews

Reviews are the most valuable social currency. Did you know the more reviews you have on platforms like Google, the more your business will pull up when searched for?

Getting a five-star review is not always within your control, but providing excellent customer service and then asking for a review is. That should be your goal with every client and referral partner.

When someone hears your name and is considering you for mortgage lending, do you know what they’re going to do before anything else? Chances are they’re going to Google your name or visit your Facebook business page to see what people are saying about you.

Make sure you’re regularly monitoring your reviews. Some review platforms will alert you when new reviews come up. Make sure to watch for those and respond with your customers.

You may also want to consider signing up for free Google alerts, which will let you know when your name or business has any new mentions on the internet. It always pays to know what’s being said about you.

Take Time to Build Your Referral Network

Building your mortgage lending referral network doesn’t have to stop there. We’ve put together a full guide with additional strategies that will help you build long-term referral relationships. Click here to download your copy today!


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