“2022 looks like it is going to be a tough year for homebuyers,” Pipkin told MPA. “It’s a seller’s market, and the Fed has signaled it will likely raise rates. In the past, customers only had to worry about coming up with their down payment, and sellers typically paid at least some closing costs in my market. The market is so competitive right now. We’re seeing more homes being overbid and sellers no longer paying closing costs.”

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Pipkin said they responded by being creative with their loan offerings – using down payment assistance to help buyers make an offer the seller will accept. She has also reached out to potential homebuyers to guide them through the loan process and what they can look forward to as homeowners.

Pipkin shared that her top focus in 2022 is to help renters get familiar with credit and start making their credit work for them versus against them so that they can embark on the journey of homeownership. “I feel the more I educate the buyer, the better the customer experience. And a great experience leads to new customers.”

For originators, Pipkin’s number one tip is to improve your communication skills: “Communication is key, along with building relationships and understanding industry trends. We are the mortgage professionals, and realtors and customers look to us as the experts. I’ve mentored several MLOs who came to mortgage banking from other fields, just as I did. As an industry, we need to encourage people who have great customer service skills to consider careers in mortgage banking,” she said.