Forget the negativity, there are better times ahead…
Just because it’s a downshifted mortgage market stalled by high mortgage rates doesn’t mean one should be idly standing by.
Samantha Shelton (pictured), broker-owner at Detroit-based Align Lending, hasn’t been sitting around waiting for rates to fall. Instead, she’s taken the time to perfect her skills so she’ll be at the top of her game once mortgage rates drop again and business is reignited.
“I’ve really challenged myself to sharpen my skills and my marketing, perfecting my sales pitches,” she said. “These opportunities are just going to get smaller, so you really have to make sure you’re absolutely ready with the material you have to execute. It’s all about taking the aspects of what you have to be a game changer.”
Mortgage Professional America spoke to Shelton during the annual FUSE conference organized by the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts (AIME) that took place earlier this month. Staged in Las Vegas, the three-day event offered helpful panel discussions and motivating speeches by industry leaders at a challenging time in the mortgage industry.
She’s prepared to be on her ‘A’ game
Given the tougher market, Shelton said she has taken certain measures – controllable action, as she called it – to better serve her customers.
“I consider myself a student of the game,” she said. “I owe it to my borrowers to understand all of the products. Sometimes, it can mean the difference between someone being approved and not being approved. It’s up to me that I make sure I know the difference between the two.”
To that end: “I know all the small details,” Shelton said. “For me, the controllable is making sure I am a student of the game, always learning and knowing all the controllables around me are always changing, so being up to date with those.”
This market is not for the weak, she suggested. To succeed, one has to live and breathe the business, she added. “To survive this market, you literally have to be all in,” she said. “This has to be something that you wake up in the morning thinking about and then go to bed thinking about it as well. My team and I have a saying: Your plan has to work because there isn’t a Plan B. And if there is a Plan B, it’s to make Plan A work. That’s just something that we really focus on. This isn’t for part timers, this is for somebody who is jumping all in.”
Devoted to AIME
Shelton is an active member of AIME, including acting as a “state captain” for her home state of Michigan. Earlier this year, AIME launched the program comprising volunteers from its rank and file to help effect positive legislative change on behalf of the broker channel. To that end, Shelton is involved in various efforts.
One of those initiatives is pushing for passage of the Helper Act – the acronym standing for “Homes for Every Local Protector, Educator and Responder.” The legislation would support those referenced to afford homes in the communities where they serve. She’s also involved in efforts to sway lawmakers to reform the practice of trigger leads whereby credit bureaus unapologetically sell consumer information on the open market once a credit inquiry is made. While perfectly legal, the action prompts an onslaught of unsolicited sales calls to borrowers.
Her deep involvement with AIME reflects her devotion to the trade association. At the core of her devotion is the Spark Small Business Grant she was bestowed by AIME, the fruit of the association’s program created to help experienced originators transition from retail and support their entrepreneurial goals as broker-owners in the wholesale channel.
“I love AIME,” she began. “Honestly, I wouldn’t have the opportunities I have today without them. I was a Spark recipient a handful of years ago, and now I’m a Spark mentor, so it’s come back full circle. As I stated, I’m a state captain. I wouldn’t have had the opportunities to go to Washington, DC and sit in all these Congressional meetings. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to speak at a women’s panel. If you aren’t part of AIME, you don’t understand what they offer. I would not have had the opportunities I’ve had without them.”
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