Top Originator: skipping refis to focus on purchases, relationships, teams

by David Kitai02 Dec 2020

Jarret Coleman’s passion for mortgage is infectious. Twenty minutes talking with the loan officer at US Bank and you’re left with a sense of the opportunity, camaraderie, and diversity of interest that exists in this industry. Coleman (pictured) built his business on purchase relationships, an area where infectious passion has stood him in good stead.

Coleman, who practices in Fairfield County, Connecticut, accepts that he’ll often forgo major growth spikes by remaining focused on purchases over refinances. His goal, however, is to build longstanding relationships with realtors and clients so his business can sustain itself in the long term. It’s a strategy that’s stood him in good stead as Fairfield languishes in almost a decade of real estate stagnation – it has driven major growth for him in 2020.

“Connecticut has been hurt since 2008, we never really recovered, but, since COVID, everyone’s changed their mentality,” Coleman said. “All of a sudden, all these people that wanted to be in the city want to be out of it and it’s caused the market here to absolutely explode. It’s been the busiest I’ve ever seen in terms of purchases in my entire career. In fact, my purchase volume is up around 300% since last year, and my overall volume is up about 250% since last year…Focusing on purchases actually panned out phenomenally, because even though there’s so many refinance opportunities available, there’s equally as many purchase opportunities right now as well. That focus hasn’t necessarily derailed me from doing some big numbers.”

Those growth numbers, Coleman explained, are even more surprising as in 2019 he posted one of his best years ever, nearly doubling his volume to $183,766,516 according to the Scotsman guide. Coleman attributes his success in 2019 and 2020 to his team at US Bank, which has grown in size, skill, and capacity as his volume has increased. With a team of six assistants helping him on a day to day basis, Coleman expects that he can handle even more spikes in volume should they come along.

Coleman’s focus on purchase means his marketing is as much about deepening existing relationships as forging new ones. He wants to deliver positive experiences to the clients and realtors in front of him so they’ll become a base for future referrals. He regularly follows up and maintains contact with them. This approach also means that Coleman isn’t working a typical nine-to-five. He’ll take calls well into the evening knowing that for his clients, making the biggest financial decision of their lives, near constant availability is a must.

Read more: How one originator is on course for a $350 million year

That availability can take a toll on Coleman’s personal life and he still struggles to find a balance between work and life. Luckily, his wife works in the mortgage business too and understands the sort of hours required for success in the industry. Nevertheless, Coleman said he’s happy to work weekends and evenings when his realtor partners are doing their work and his clients are thinking about their purchases.

In addition, he relies on his team to achieve a little more balance as he copes with higher volume and longer hours. Their competence, and the trust he places in them, allows him to take a little more time back for himself when it’s needed. At the same time, they ensure no client is left in the dark.

Read More: Managing complexity to cross $200 million

Like so many mortgage professionals, this wasn’t Coleman’s initial idea of a dream job. A meteorology major in college, Coleman worked part time as an assistant for a top loan officer in 2005 and 2006. There he saw just how much a successful loan officer could make. His boss at the time, after a particularly good week, handed Coleman a check for $5,000 as a thank you.

“For a 20-year old at the time, $5,000 was everything to me,” Coleman said.

Out of college, Coleman was drawn to this industry’s direct path to success. In Coleman’s experience, the harder he works the more he earns. His passion for the industry came with experience as he helped more clients achieve their dreams.

Coleman is still in touch with his old boss, who made the jump from loan officer to realtor a few years ago. He is as quick to share lessons his mentors taught him as he is to credit his team. His passion for the industry stems from the people around him and he believes that the key to any originator’s success lies in those they work alongside.

“Surround yourself with positive like-minded people,” Coleman said when asked what advice he would share with young originators. “There’s no question that the reason my volume has grown is because I’ve continued to grow and work with more like-minded people over time. That’s very important so you don’t feel like you’re alone in this industry. Anyone new or younger that wants to grow, it’s just about surrounding yourself with the right people. I think that probably applies to everything, even life outside the mortgage industry.”