Top Originator on how educating realtors honed her competitive edge

"Once you become an expert at something, everyone comes looking for you"

Top Originator on how educating realtors honed her competitive edge

Nicole Rueth (pictured) is not your typical originator. She’s also an expert at helping people reach financial stability and multi-generational wealth.

“Figure out what you’re passionate about and dive 100% into that. Don’t try to be everything to everybody. If you’re just a lender, no-one will listen to you. But once you become an expert at something - whether it’s serving veterans or immigrants, specializing in horse properties, or very challenging types of loans - everyone comes looking for you. My tranche is building wealth through real estate because I’m passionate about helping people become financially independent.”

Rueth, a branch manager at Fairway Independent Mortgage, has expanded her business by offering real estate investment classes. She and her team guide people on the opportunity and steps to capitalizing on real estate to provide multi-generational wealth. Having done this for the past six years, she’s been able to continually recreate who she is in the market and find new ways to serve clients.

Last year, however, Rueth had to move her classroom online.

“COVID certainly tested our resilience, but it also gave our industry an exceptional opportunity to provide additional value for our clients and realtor partners,” Rueth said. “For example, during the second week of March 2020, we held our first consumer investor class in person. The next week, when we held our class for real estate agents, it was on Zoom. It was a very quick about-face.”

Rueth said that the pandemic also taught them to dig deeper and find new ways to deliver value. Before COVID-19, her classes and seminars mainly revolved around topics that would help their referral partners improve how they market themselves and grow business. But Rueth quickly realized that they needed other skills that would enable them to navigate business uncertainty during the pandemic.

“They needed to learn how to use Zoom, video, virtual tours, etc., and they had to become experts on how home appreciation and low-interest rates were transforming the market. So, we quickly shifted from monthly in-person classes to weekly online market trend classes,” she said. “The market was moving so fast, and to wait a whole month for the next class would have made the information either outdated or irrelevant.”

Rueth was able to get past these roadblocks with ease thanks to her fantastic team, which has grown from 10 to 27 in just over a year. Aside from her core team, which focuses on their referral network, Rueth now has a reverse mortgage team and a lead generation team. And while building her dream team didn’t happen overnight, Rueth said that there are several cues that tell her when it’s time to scale.

“Sometimes it’s as simple as experiencing a pain point or realizing we could get a lot more done if we had X person in Y role. You try to get ahead of it,” she said. “We’re constantly looking for the right people who are passionate about serving the client and can thrive in a high-energy environment. But it takes a while to find the right people.”

Now, Rueth is looking forward to even more growth. This year they are on track to close $400 million in loans, up from $300 million in 2020.

“Everything I do is in alignment with my passion, and people get attracted to that energy. Everyone is worried about losing a deal, but I say ‘go ahead and lose all the deals that don’t matter’. Find what really lights you up, and jump in,” Rueth said.