Lorri Hoffman has been originating for about 10 years, but when it comes to her expertise and experience in the mortgage industry, that’s only scratching the surface. Hoffman dedicated more than 20 years before that to a career in underwriting, which she believes has been the foundation of her success.
“Underwriting skill was pivotal because I understand how loans work and how they're pieced together, as well as the required documentation and the preferred structure for underwriters. I’m also used to the research, guidelines, digging into files and helping structure them,” said Hoffman, who runs her own branch at Movement Mortgage in North Carolina.
When it comes to her transition from underwriting to origination, it was mostly about timing. Her kids were older, she already built a professional network throughout her career, and she had the time to put in the work that she knew the business would require. All that was left was to build her reputation and gain the trust of referral partners.
“I pride myself on not giving pre-qualifications without a thorough review of documentation. The process might take a little longer, but in the end, there’s a very slim chance these loans don’t end up closing,” she said.
Her detail-oriented attitude, strong work ethic and underwriting experience is really what led to her building her team from the ground up, and quickly rising to the top as one of the nation’s top originators. In 2019, Hoffman closed more than $90 million in volume. She believes her competitive edge still boils down to being accessible and trustworthy, and maintaining that good reputation. She also puts a lot of energy into her sphere of referral partners, building strong, genuine relationships with them and proving time and time again that she honestly does care about their customers. Her team prioritizes those connections by sending personalized thank you cards and posting social media shoutouts, as well as reaching out to past customers at least five times a year to ensure they understand that service and guidance isn’t over once the deal is done.
Being a structured and organized professional has also contributed to Hoffman’s success. She doesn’t end the day without combing through her inbox and replying or flagging them for the next day. She calls at least five real estate agents daily, whether it’s too update them on a file or simply check in and connects with all borrowers during the week of their closing to make sure they are comfortable with closing procedures and prepared for the process.
In the mortgage industry, Hoffman finds many people get into origination believing there’s a lot of flexibility in running your own business, but in her experience, success only comes with complete commitment.
“If you want to be in this business, it takes sacrifice and I don’t think everyone understands that. Building your business also takes time, patience and perseverance, and you have to work every day to generate leads; it’s not going to come all on its own.”
This year, it’s been a wild ride industry wide as the coronavirus pandemic pushed rates to historic lows, but Hoffman says she’s been around long enough to know not to take it for granted.
“A mistake a lot of loan officers will make this year is not focusing on their referral partners for purchase business. Refinancing is a blessing for many right now, but it won’t last, and we need to prepare for when it’s gone.”