Top Originator: How a millennial mortgage pro quintupled her volume in two years

by David Kitai06 Jan 2021

Annmarie Edwards (pictured) might just be the quintessentially millennial mortgage pro. We don’t mean that in the sense of a much-maligned millennial workforce but, rather, as someone who is social media savvy, relationship-oriented, and able to shift her focus from local to national at a moment’s notice. Edwards is one of the top young loan officers at Guaranteed Rate and has grown her volume more than fivefold since 2018.

MPA recently spoke with Edwards about her approach to building referrals and connecting with clients. She shared how she’s managed to grow so quickly in the business and how she stayed grounded through last year’s ups and downs. She emphasized her ability to connect with the people in her community and reach an audience of younger homebuyers who are, increasingly, setting the tempo of the US housing industry.

“I think I’m pretty relatable in terms of who’s buying right now,” Edwards said. “I’m a little bit younger, I’m a woman in the industry, and I’m just a little bit more casual. When people see me they say ‘OK, you’re not in a suit and you’re not meeting me in a bank where I can feel intimidated. You’re a real person.’ I’m able to give it to them straight, help them and guide them without making them feel judged.”

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That more casual approach has helped Edwards forge strong connections with realtors and clients alike. From building her business by doing broker opens and meeting real estate agents, Edwards has made friends with many of the agents she works most closely with. She brings that approach to clients, too, making a point of learning borrowers’ kids’ birthdays. She’s intentional about finding relationship-minded clients and referral partners, tending to pass on prospects who just seem to be rate-shopping.

While Edwards uses social media to promote her business, she firmly grounds that presence in her local community. A proud Cape Cod resident, Edwards makes a point of connecting first and foremost with her surrounding community, whether that’s with geography-specific Facebook and Instagram posts or simply by involving herself in the community offscreen.

With those relationships in hand, Edwards works long hours to deliver. Driven by a competitive spirit, Edwards knows she’s had to work harder than some of her colleagues simply because she’s a woman in the industry. She sees an opportunity in that work, though, to establish herself as a leader in the next generation of mortgage pros for decades to come.

That hard work, Edwards said, has earned her a reputation for closing deals. She says that with that reputation in hand, in a small community like Cape Cod where word can travel fast, she’s more able to secure clients and new referral partners. Higher volume can be a double-edged sword though and Edwards has noticed her success is making a work-life balance that much harder to strike.

Read more: Skipping refis to focus on purchases, relationships, teams

Living close to nature does help with that balance, she said. Escaping to the beaches of Cape Cod with her kids is enough to keep Edwards grounded.

Edwards believes other young mortgage professionals, or young people looking to get into the business, can follow her example if they want to ramp up their success.

“If you put your mind to it, you absolutely can do it, you just you have to be persistent, you have to be consistent and you always have to be prospecting,” Edwards said. “You don’t want to be dropping off rate sheets and doughnuts. You need to be educating your agents, your buyers, any of your referral partners.

“This industry is amazing, and I wish I started in it 10 years ago.”