“There needs to be a little more respect” between real estate agents and loan officers, panelists Padi Goodspeed, Kathy Helbig-Strick and Katie Sweeney discussed at Inman Connect Las Vegas.

Inman Connect is LIVE Aug. 8-10! Join us for impactful interviews, cutting-edge conversations and networking with thousands of real estate pros. Get valuable takeaways to thrive in a rapidly shifting market. Can’t come to Vegas? Register now for a virtual ticket.

There is a power imbalance between real estate agents and loan officers that’s not serving homebuyers well, three members of a panel at Inman Connect Las Vegas said on Wednesday.

Lenders are reliant on client referrals from real estate agents, who then rely on lenders as an integral part of closing a transaction on time. Yet agents tend to treat loan officers as expendable rather than integral members of a real estate team, the panel members said.

“There’s a lot of animosity between the lending side and the agent side,” said Kathy Helbig-Strick, owner of Experience Real Estate Partners.

Kathy Helbig-Strick, owner of Experience Real Estate Partners, said there’s animosity between real estate agents and lenders. Image by AJ Canaria

Helbig-Strick was joined by Padi Goodspeed, senior vice president of Cross Country Mortgage; and Katie Sweeney, CEO of the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts; on a panel focused on the imbalance.

Sweeney recounted the power struggle she witnessed between lenders and agents when she’s purchased homes in the past, a tension she called “terrible.”

“My agent didn’t get along with my lender, my lender thought my agent was dumb,” Sweeney said. “There was constant conflict and confrontation going back and forth.”

“Everybody enters the conversation initially with an intent to be the alpha dog in the meeting. You see this power struggle going back and forth over and over again,” Sweeney said. “When in reality the objective of both parties is to get a potential homeowner into a house. That is the only goal that should matter.”

Goodspeed said the industry needs to talk more about the “imbalance in the relationship” between loan officers who are reliant on business that is referred to them by agents.

“The Realtor thinks the loan officer is maybe a staff member, or treated as someone who is replaceable. Someone that is not as worthy as they are in that relationship,” Goodspeed said. “It makes you feel a little more worthless in that whole process.”

Loan officers would benefit from knowing more about the requirements and deadlines in a home-sales contract, said Helbig-Strick, whose husband works in loan origination.

“I’ve been on a soapbox for 10-15 years about the number of loan officers who truly don’t understand our sales contract. It’s terrible.” Helbig-Strick said. “As an agent, we’re responsible for the timelines and deadlines and the fiduciary for that contract.”

Helbig-Strick eventually became a licensed loan originator and realized how much she didn’t know about the lending process, she said.

“In 26 years, I thought I had that side figured out,” she said. “It was really eye-opening.”

She and Goodspeed recommended agents and teams find a way to create relationships with lenders that operate more like a true partnership.

Padi Goodspeed speaks at Inman Connect Las Vegas on Wednesday, Aug. 9. Image by AJ Canaria

In the wake of the Great Financial Crisis, Goodspeed contacted over 100 real estate agents in her region to try to generate more business.

“I asked them, ‘Who are you working with, what do you like about them and what would you change?'” she said. “Every single one was communication and then reciprocation.”

She made a point of being a clear communicator, including being upfront about buyers who might be difficult to underwrite, she said.

Goodspeed also said she made a point of beefing up her referral business to agents.

“If you’re going to be strategic about partnering with a loan officer, pick one that you respect,” Goodspeed said, “and treat them like they’re not replaceable.”

Email Taylor Anderson

agent safety
Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription