Mortgage brokers or bankers might reasonably convince themselves there’s no time like the present to establish and build a mutually beneficial relationship with a senior housing/healthcare lending specialist who knows the ropes.

“The industry’s highly favorable demographics and long-term outlook are encouraging many to take a second look at opportunities presented,” says Cambridge Realty Capital Companies President Andrew L. Erkes.

Cambridge is one of the nation’s leading senior housing/healthcare lenders, with more than $5 billion in closed transactions.  The company is one of the top FHA-approved lenders in the country.

Mr. Erkes says mortgage brokers or bankers looking to partner with a senior housing/healthcare lending specialist are not without options.

“Active in the senior care industry today are large, multi-faceted lenders that aspire to be all things to all people.   At the opposite end are smaller, entrepreneurial firms that are totally focused on senior care transactions,” he says.

“All firms have their own corporate history, business model, lending programs, and their own unique way of doing things.  To find a comfortable fit, it’s important to start well and systematically build confidence and trust as the relationship progresses through a series of predictable stages.”

Mr. Erkes says the Cambridge management team has identified eight pivotal steps in the relationship-building process that ideally occur in an orderly sequence.  “Things tend to come unhinged when parties look for shortcuts that put the cart before the horse.”

In the first stage, the broker or consultant initiates contact and seeks to determine the lender’s interest in whatever the project might be.  A preliminary description of the proposed deal is provided and, if interest is established, Cambridge takes the initiative in the second stage.

In this stage, enough information will be exchanged to enable the respective parties to determine if there’s a reason to continue. If the preliminary flirtation goes well, the parties move on to the third phase, at which point the lender will request more detailed information.

By this time, the parties should begin to get comfortable with the idea that a compatible working relationship is a realistic possibility.  Then, during the fourth stage, the requested information is processed and specific funding options are recommended based on an evaluation of the client’s presumed needs.

Mr. Erkes says stage five is a critical step.  The lender is introduced to the client and the broker or banker effectively becomes an advocate for the recommendations made. Also at this stage, the mortgage broker or banker may also be given the opportunity to become an originator or partner in the transaction.

In stage six, a loan summary or terms sheet is presented to the client for approval and, in stage seven, the loan application is signed and the exchange of documents continues as the loan is processed.  The loan is closed and the relationship process is informally evaluated in the eighth and final stage.

Mr. Erkes says the steps may seem obvious or even simplistic.  However, he believes strategic awareness of timing and details can significantly impact how things turn out for all concerned parties.

“The possibility of wasting time and energy escalates when parties fail to recognize the importance of building confidence and trust through a process that clearly identifies how things stand and where everyone is positioned relative to the finish line at any given time,” he said.

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