Like most loan originators, Jason Evans didn’t go through college thinking that he wanted to get into the mortgage industry. Unlike most loan originators, that’s exactly what he did immediately after graduating from Bentley University with a major in economics and finance.
He was offered a job as an inside sales representative and quickly learned the ropes, beating out his peers in terms of volume and becoming part of the company’s President’s Club. It was on that trip that he saw the success of the other members of the club; how they carried themselves, what they were doing, and how he could replicate all of it.
“I got lucky and took a chance on the right profession and ran with it,” he said.
His business has been on the up ever since, and in order to continue that upward trajectory, he wanted to surround himself with other top producers. At the beginning of 2019 Evans moved to Guaranteed Rate, a company that had always been on his radar. His four team members all made the move with him, and are all committed to adopting the new resources now available.
For the past couple of years, Evans has helped more than 200 borrowers buy a home, and has had a total production volume of $95-$100 million. He noticed a big boost when he grew his staff, and one of the reasons he made the switch to Guaranteed Rate, he said, is to change things up and figure out new ways of consistently boosting his numbers and increasing efficiencies as a team.
“Prior to the last three years I had peaked out at 115 transactions a year, and that’s when I made the switch to hire my first assistant. I have three of them now, and hiring them has been a big factor in getting to that next level, where we’ve almost doubled our purchase business in those two and a half years.”
He’s also looking for ways to help make offers more competitive for his clients. The structuring of a loan can make or break a deal, especially in such a highly competitive market like that of the Massachusetts region where Evans calls home. He anticipates that processes and programs are going to be a huge difference maker this year when it comes to doing whatever possible to help clients and partners get the property. Sometimes, he concedes, that means being aggressive.
“It’s just trying to come up with technologies and strategies to give [buyers] the best chance, whether it’s doing an upfront underwrite prior to them making an offer, continually getting faster on the timelines we can offer for a closing (getting down to two weeks in some cases), or waiving financial contingencies if they have a solid approval upfront,” Evans said. “And then working with the clients to educate them on what they need to do to get themselves in the best position to get their offer accepted.”
Evans built a strong foundation of his business before adding anything on top, meaning that knew it was important to always have a deep knowledge of product guidelines as well as the process before adding any additional bells and whistles. Becoming an expert on the guidelines has to come first, and how to structure a loan appropriately given the client situation.
Once an originator is confident in that, Evans said, the next step is to figure out what they’re good at, and build their business around that.
“Are you a great networker? Are you great on the phone? What are your strengths, and then trying to figure out how to highlight those and use those to your advantage to bring in business. Don’t try to be something you’re not. If you’re not a great networker, don’t focus on all networking events. You don’t have to. Just try to really play up what your strengths are and figure out how to leverage that to grow your business.”
Evans said that his strength is his attention to detail and focusing on all the little things that take place and add up on a daily basis. Being very thorough with clients, clearly explaining their options, and giving them information before they ask for it are all small strengths—because at this point, he said, his team knows the information people will want to know before it’s even on their radar. Clients appreciate that, with the added bonus of cementing the originator as the expert in their mind.
Evans is fairly young as originators go, and as such, he’s on the more flexible, adaptable end of the spectrum. He’s willing to change his business and find more small ways to improve and get even stronger.
“I’m not afraid to change the way we do things, and always be trying different techniques or different ideas. I’m always trying to learn and grow. I’m not set in my ways with any aspect of the business, really, I’m always open to ideas and that’s helped me to really find things that work and move on from things that aren’t working, and just constantly trying to get better,” he said. “That open minded-ness, I think is huge.”
For strategies from top originators, come to Anaheim on April 4th for our Power Originating session featuring Shant Banosian, Ben Anderson, and Oleg Tkach.