Originators: Don't rest on your laurels as economy improves

Some repeating bad habits at their own peril

Originators: Don't rest on your laurels as economy improves

It’s no secret mortgage originators have had a tougher go of it in generating volume given higher mortgage rates spurred by inflation. Yet even amid a tighter economy, loan officers can excel if they follow a tried-and-true blueprint for success.

Enter Ron Vaimberg (pictured), a mortgage industry veteran who conducts personal success coaching sessions across the breadth of the real estate industry. Needless to say, activity has been brisk at his namesake firm, Ron Vaimberg International lately amid economic shifts.

Yet by the time Mortgage Professional America caught up with Vaimberg, activity had started to climb back up. But he fears LOs may go back to their old habits and may miss the forest for the trees again – as many did recently chasing solely refi opportunities that eventually dried up. 

“What’s happening now in this last week and a half, we’ve seen volume grow in most parts of the country – not all, but most parts of the country. More contracts, more pre-approvals, more people visiting homes,” he told MPA. “Loan officers are going back to the habit of not prospecting because now, there’s more activity. So, all of a sudden, their prospecting urgency is falling backwards.”

He fears loan officers may be finding new laurels on which to rest given the sudden uptick in activity – a tactic he detected from among the 25 coaching calls he’s had this week with clients, he said. “All of a sudden, now the pressure has been diminished,” Vaimberg said. “Because it’s been diminished, the urgency now is gone. If coaching clients are doing this, I know people who aren’t being coached are doing this.”

He uses an analogy of dieting: “I liken this to if somebody goes on a diet because they’re in a situation they’re not happy with – they don’t like the way they look or couldn’t get into a certain pair of pants and had to suck in their gut. So they go on a crash diet, and lose 10lbs in a week but it’s all water weight. Now, the urgency to continue to lose weight is gone because the pain’s gone.”

But here’s the rub: “Diets never work,” he said. “Because what will happen is they’re focused on the wrong thing. In a diet, you’re focused on losing weight, but the only way you keep the weight off is if you make a decision to change your lifestyle. If loan officers keep behaving in a transitional way – which is what they do, chasing the paycheck – we’re not building the business the way we need to in the future. And if there’s any uptick to the economy – whether it’s a geopolitical issue from 5,000 miles away to something that the administration or the next administration does – the market could change from one direction to the other in a heartbeat, and then history can repeat itself. And, all of a sudden, we go from feast to famine.”            

The tendency to drop everything to chase that dollar is cyclical, he added: “Our industry never learns from its mistakes,” he said. “We do the same thing over and over again every single time – chase the money. If we don’t learn from our mistakes, then once again we’re being transactional.”

Competition is still there, inventory still low

For those inclined to the tactics of instant gratification sans prospecting, Vaimberg invokes other obstacles: “This is also creating another challenge that’s happening,” he said. “Buyer demand is suddenly increasing, but inventory is barely increasing. Because we don’t know what the spring market is going to be and that’s leading us to – I won’t say the bidding wars of 2020 and 2021 – challenges of getting offers accepted. One of my clients in California just told me yesterday her client got an offer accepted. There were five offers on this property. Three weeks ago, nobody was even making offers.”

He urges loan officers to adhere to a blueprint for success predicated on a handful of attributes: A willingness to go outside their comfort zones; consistency; being organized; focus; and intentional, which is to say, working with purpose.

“Most originators dabble in their marketing and prospecting,” he said. “They do it as a last resort when they don’t have anything else going on. The originator who is consistently prospecting, consistently developing relationships and understanding that is their primary job to bringing business – they are the ones that will remain consistent in their activities to grow.”

It’s been said before: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.