A leading real estate agent is attempting to silence criticism that bank referral incentives influence where his industry sends clients for mortgage support.
“It’s not about if (my referral partner) works for a bank or a mortgage brokerage,” says Ira Jelinek, a high-volume agent in Toronto. “It’s more about the relationship I have with them. If I think they can do a good job for a prospective client, then I will give them the business, regardless of whether they work for RBC or Monster Mortgage.”
Jelinek says he and many of his colleagues don’t collect fees from banks, instead choose to focus on the mutually beneficial nature of these relationships.
“I just prefer to do it in more of a way that isn’t contractual and where I give in good faith and I get back in good faith,” he says. “When a client is looking (for a home), the first thing they need to get in order is their finances, so we need to have relationships with mortgage brokers.”
That referral relationship works both ways, something continuing to support strong mortgage broker/real estate relationships in a market where low rates haven’t been enough to help many prospective homebuyers overcome value gains.
The phenomenon means that the mortgage professional is increasingly the first point of contact for the homebuyer, something of which Realtors are acutely aware.
The referral partnership between real estate agents and mortgage brokers “is a mutually beneficial relationship,” says Jelinek. “If (prospective buyers) go into a mortgage brokerage first, they need (real estate agent) representation.”