Jonathan Okun (pictured with his sales coordinator Faith Howell) never considered himself a salesman but found his success in the mortgage industry from simply being honest, responsive and working hard since he started in 2002. While many loan officers claim the reason behind their success is being the quickest to the phone, Okun says his strategy is quite different.
In an environment where there’s multiple offers on many homes, strong relationships and a solid team helps him win the deals, scale his business, and leaves time for him to be a present father and husband. His relationships with many of his realtor partners span over his lengthy 18-year career, which is a great benefit to his business model.
“There were many deals last year where we weren’t the top price, but we still got the deal because the other offers were either with big banks or credit unions that typically move slower,” said Okun, senior mortgage consultant at Prosperity Home Mortgage. “Because I know the listing agent, they can explain to sellers that even though an offer may be a little lower on price, the result is better because it will close on time.”
Being incredibly detailed has helped foster these relationships because it means detecting any potential issues very early on in the process. Okun isn’t in the business to waste anyone’s time, and he truly cares about every client and their loan. If he tells a realtor that a buyer is good to go, they can be certain that’s the case. His advice for building these relationships is to never hide anything. Maintaining these strong relationships is also how Okun has scaled his business by having his top realtors introduce him to new ones.
“I believe in the power of good relationships, and having realtors share their experience working with me,” he said. “Having people in the business you can rely on means you can move on to the next deal quicker, and it works both ways. My goal is to have realtors send me referrals and for them to move on to their next client without having to worry.”
Managing and respecting the time of his referral partners, clients and himself has also been an key part of his success and his happiness in the business. As a veteran, Okun has become more selective in the people he works with; he's a dad of two and insists on being present during time with his family. Finding people who are efficient and respectful of their own time and themselves is important to him.
“When I first got into the business, agents called me at all hours of every night with urgent requests, but many of those things don’t actually need immediate attention.”
At the end of each year, Okun spends time going through each file and who sent the referral for an overarching understanding of where business is coming from. He surrounds himself with other professionals who manage their time well and understand the importance of downtime. That way, when one of them do come to him with an urgent request, he can accommodate them knowing that it’s truly urgent.
“I’m also super appreciative. If a realtor sends me a client, it’s never taken for granted and never goes unnoticed. There are a lot of loan officers to choose from, and they continue to choose me.”
Okun says he owes it to his incredible team, one of his greatest assets, that allows him to be efficient without having to answer every phone call on the first ring. This efficiency was a main driver behind his $149 million year in 2019, and the reason he was able to surpass his already impressive 2018 where he closed over $116 million.
“My sales coordinator Faith used to be a loan officer herself, and my processors are incredible. We don’t step on each other’s toes and we run like a machine; that’s why we can do so much volume. I am good at my job, but everyone around me is really good at theirs too. At the start of my career, I didn’t have the option to be picky, but it all comes down to experience, hard work, a good reputation and a dependable team.”