The Changing Face of ARM Leads By Bradley Steffens
If you are a loan officer or mortgage broker intrigued by the $1.5 trillion market in adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) that the Mortgage Bankers Association says are scheduled to reset this year, you might be tempted to visit (or send someone to) the county records office to look for refinance leads. You might want to browse the Internet, instead. The problem with public records is that they provide only basic property and loan information. Contact information is years out of date and often invalid. Worst of all, there is no way of knowing if the phone numbers are on the National Do Not Call Registry. ARM leads have undergone significant changes recently. Not a facelift. More like an extreme makeover. Enterprising companies have found ways to merge data from multiple databases to create ARM leads rich with property and loan information. The level of detail is astounding. For sometimes as low as $12.50 per lead, buyers find out ARM details such as the first reset date and payment amount change, the next reset date, the limit on how much the interest rate can change per reset, available equity amount, and combined loan to value. Yes/no flags indicate interest-only loans and loans with negative amortization. Buyers also get details about the first loan, including lender name, loan purpose, loan amount ($100,000 minimum), loan origination date, mortgage term and maturity date. The same information is provided for second mortgages when applicable. The new ARM leads contain enough details about the property that a savvy loan officer or mortgage broker can practically prepare a quote before calling the homeowner. The lead provides the address (with nine-digit ZIP), of course, but also the Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN) code, property carrier code, year built, property value, automated valuation model (AVM) value and confidence score, sale date, sale price, title company name, and whether or not the property is owner occupied. Details about the home, such as number of rooms, number of bedrooms and baths, square footage, and lot size are also part of the lead. Enhanced leads contain contact information for each person on the deed. Most importantly for those trying to contact the homeowner about refinancing, the phone numbers have been validated for accuracy and checked against the National Do Not Call Registry to make sure they can be called. The lead even provides the date and time the phone number was verified as DNC-compliant. With more than three million ARMs scheduled for their first (and largest) resets in 2007 and 2008, millions of Americans are desperate to refinance. Mortgage
brokers and loan officers can use today’s made-over ARM leads to contact these consumers as much as 120 days ahead of their reset date. Chances are, they will be welcomed with open arms.