According to Stanford Economist Nicholas Bloom, 42 percent of the U.S. labor force is now working from home. While the COVID crisis sparked a huge rise in the need for employees to work from home with lock-downs and quarantines, many companies are now finding success with work-from-home positions. While many companies were hesitant, they are now seeing the benefits. While many state regulatory agencies and companies still restrict loan officers to working in licensed facilities, the pandemic brought many changes that now allow most loan officers to work from home. However, working from home successfully is not for everyone, and there are a few things to consider before taking this step.
What do loan officers do?
Loan officers are employed by commercial banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, car dealerships, and other financial institutions. They are responsible for evaluating, authorizing, and recommending the approval of loan applications. A loan officer evaluates an applicant by looking at their background and determining if the loan candidate is a good risk and likely to pay back the money they borrow. In addition, they are often responsible for finding clients seeking loans, meaning they work to make connections with realtors, car sales associates, or other business professionals in the hopes of generating business.
A loan officer working from home
While most loan officers work in a financial institution, many are making the transition to home-based operations, either part-time or full-time. While some regulating agencies still require loan officers to work in their financial institutions, this is changing for many areas. Before you consider transitioning to a work-from-home position, make sure your area allows for it. While many people think the idea of working from home sounds great, it can be a challenge if you are not prepared for the changes.
Creating your home workspace
When creating your work-from-home space, there are many things to consider to be successful. Probably one of the most important things to consider is your internet. While most home internet works for your basics, as a loan officer working from home, your day will likely rely on emails, video calls, and large corporate files. You need internet with at least 100 megabits per second to ensure that you can keep up with your demand.
Once your internet is in place, you need to focus on your workstation. What do you need to complete your daily demands? This can include computers, monitors, keyboards, laptops, filing systems, and more. In many cases, the financial institution you work for will provide these items or offer to purchase required items for your home office.
Marketing yourself when you work from home
When working from home, you are not as likely to come into face-to-face contact with potential clients, so it is important that you still work on marketing yourself in other ways. The digital age provides many opportunities to do just that. Managing your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Zillow pages are essential to keep you in front of potential borrowers. In addition, joining outside networking groups is a great way to get out of the office and build effective network relationships.
Finding the right lender to work with
Unfortunately, not all companies have accepted the work-from-home culture. If your goal is to work from home, you need to find financial institutions that accept the remote lifestyle. Not only do these companies allow you to thrive from home, but they also continue to work to build a team by holding bi-annual retreats, virtual town halls, or more to enhance the sense of teamwork between in-house and at-home members.
How to be a successful loan officer when working from home
Working from home is not for everyone and it takes some changes to be successful. These tips can help ease your transition and promote success, even if you are only working from home part-time.
Setting your goals
As a loan officer working from home, you don’t have someone there to keep you accountable. You must rely on yourself in setting and meeting goals. Establishing daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals and making sure you meet these goals is essential. Start by thinking about what you want to accomplish this year and determine what you need to do to make that happen. Think about things like how many calls you need to make each day, how many appointments you need each week, and how many lead generations you need per week to meet your goals.
Creating and following a schedule
Working in an office setting typically has regular work schedules. You get to the office at a certain time, take a scheduled break and lunch, and finish your day at closing time. Working at home is a little different, but you still need to establish a regular schedule to stay productive. While this schedule does not need to follow your traditional office schedule, you want to make sure you follow the same routine hours every workday. It can become very easy to overwork when working from home, so creating a regular schedule also helps reduce burnout and ultimate failure when working at home.
Creating a separate workspace
While it may seem like a luxury to work from home with your laptop on the coffee table or some other random spot in your home as the day progresses, this can reduce your productivity. When it comes to working from home, you need to create a workspace that is dedicated to your work. A place where you can open the door when your work hours start and close the door at the end of your workday.
Having a full office set-up allows you to focus on your work and meet your daily goals without tracking down something you forgot or don’t have readily available.
Managing an active professional network
As we mentioned earlier, working from home can become isolating, so it is important to allow time to focus on your professional network. This can include everything from your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Zillow pages to local community networking and professional groups. These resources help keep you active and put you in front of people who can help you grow your business.
Always strive to grow
Working from home is often the perfect environment for many loan officers. However, there are some important things to remember. When you work in a traditional office setting, other agents are pushing you to match your success. When you work at home, you must push yourself to achieve the success you strive for. This means you need to spend time increasing your knowledge and growing yourself and not getting stuck doing the same thing over and over again with no growth.