Top Originator: David Thomas goes back to the basics

by Kasi Johnston24 Jun 2020

When it comes to his realtor partners, David Thomas has his team down pat. Communication, mutual respect and precision are the building blocks he used to create his network. Along with client referrals, his relationships with realtors is a main driver behind his steady stream of business over his 16-year career.

“It’s a highly emotional situation when it comes to working with realtors and their buyers. They are putting everything into your hands,” said Thomas. “I get motivation from having vested interest in every transaction.”

For Thomas, it’s not about loan amounts or how many deals he’s got on the go, rather it’s just about getting the job done for families who are excited and anxious about making such a big purchase. In his experience, getting a difficult deal done, or working to make sure things run seamlessly leaves an impression on people and leads to repeat clients and lifetime referrals.

When it comes to finding the right realtor partners, he says you should figure out who you can work best with as a unit and customize your team with people who have mutual respect, trust and understanding.

“You learn some hard lessons over time and there are some realtors you just don’t jive with but working together makes things easier and better for the clients,” he said. “It’s not about you, or me, or even just about the client. It’s a team effort.”

In most cases, Thomas says realtors have done their job in finding the client their home, and for the pre-approval process, the lines of communication need to stay open. Sometimes, deals falling through are unavoidable, but taking the right approach in these situations can be make or break these relationships. Taking responsibility and ownership of mistakes and coming up with solutions so it doesn’t happen again is a big part of building trust with referral partners.

“You will learn quickly if you screw up. Every experienced loan officer has had a deal fall through and you must be accountable.”

In 2019, Thomas closed over $106 million in volume, and is on track to break that record again this year. His strategy is all about staying true to the basics, even in a changing environment.

It’s a great time for mortgage brokers across the country, as interest rates are low, and people are interested in buying even through the COVID-19 pandemic. In Colorado specifically, Thomas says there has been record low inventory over the past few years, placing an even greater weight on firming up partnerships.

A big part of that is keeping up to date on changing guidelines and new rules. As things change so quickly, the best way to keep up is to really dig deep.

“I really took the time to study the bones of a mortgage, learn the financials and the reasons behind the changes. With my subprime background, I understood how to structure a file in order to get it approved. Diving into the guidelines, mastering my craft through knowledge and taking a multifaceted approach was really the biggest adaptation to date,” he said.

Being able to pivot is really what’s going to set mortgage brokers apart with the coronavirus adding a new layer to the already interesting landscape. There have been notable changes in loans and guidelines, overlays and forbearance, as well as closing, and there’s still more to come. Even though the low-interest rates mean refinances are at record highs, Thomas says brokers need to be prepared for when rates go back up. As for the digital aspect of the business, he predicts video conferencing is here to stay.

“It’s going to be a big part of the business going forward for clients that maybe want a bit more personal touch. Sometimes just putting a face to a name really solidifies the relationship,” he said. “If someone wants a face-to-face meeting now, we can do it from the comfort of our homes.”

He suggests brokers invest in a proper webcam and continue to incorporate new ways of doing business into their routine.

“This is how business is going to be for a long time, if not forever. A lot of companies are going to realize how efficiently they can operate in a digital landscape and the potential for increased profit without having a physical office location.”