Top Originator Spotlight: Neil Patel of Insignia Mortgage

Unearth top strategies from his business playbook

Top Originator Spotlight: Neil Patel of Insignia Mortgage

In the heart of Beverly Hills, where the real estate market is as dynamic as the city’s famed boulevards, Neil Patel stands out as a mortgage strategist who’s not merely crunching numbers but turning complex transactions into success stories. 

Patel (pictured) is a licensed mortgage broker and CPA at Insignia Mortgage, specializing in underwriting loans for borrowers with complex financials and tax returns.

A specialist in complexity

While many mortgage brokers might shy away from complicated cases, Patel and his team at Insignia Mortgage lean into them.

Focusing on boutique mortgages, they cater to a unique clientele: the self-employed, high net-worth individuals, and those whose financial situations might seem like a puzzle to most.

“A lot of Los Angeles people are self-employed,” Patel said. “They tend to have self-employed tax returns, LLCs, and corporations.”

This often leads to a disconnect between what’s on paper and the client’s actual financial standing. But where others see complications, Patel sees an opportunity to bridge the gap, simplifying these complexities for underwriters and banks.

“So to be able to dumb down and put the file in layman’s terms and say, ‘Hey look, this client has a very high earnings potential and has earned a large gross salary and income in his business, but they’re pushing the deductions, and they’re playing the tax game to lower their taxable revenue’,” he said. “They’re pushing some of their personal lifestyle expenses into the business, which, when buying more houses or getting a loan, actually hurts them. Somebody will explain to the underwriters and banks what’s going on in people’s files and financials.

“Given the marketplace, not many people are focusing on these loans. We tend to focus on the out-of-the-box stuff that requires a little more thinking versus just the salaried employee looking for the best rate.”

The changing tides of real estate

With interest rates on the rise, the once bustling high-end market in Southern California has slowed. “When people were able to borrow for 2% to 3%, they were much more likely to overextend themselves in a bigger house,” Patel observed. “Now, with rates in the sixes and sevens, people are holding back. They’re not in as big of a rush to buy something larger than they can afford, and they’re frankly being scared by the rates in the luxury housing markets.”

Yet, it’s not all gloom and doom. Patel’s optimism shines through as he speaks of the evergreen allure of Los Angeles, the world’s entertainment capital. Despite the challenges, people are still drawn to the city’s climate, diverse landscapes, and the promise of a better life.

“People are leaving, but there’s always people coming to Los Angeles,” he said.

Building bridges in a fragmented landscape

In a fragmented mortgage space with 100s of lenders, each with their quirks, Patel’s current mission is clear: to understand the nuances of each lender.

“We’re really working on just knowing what every lender is doing because there are 100s of lenders in the mortgage space,” Patel said. “It’s very fragmented, and each lender has their quirk, so I’m working on putting together what everyone’s nuances are. So, when I get a loan with a technical issue, I know the right lender to call quickly, and I can solve the problem for the borrower faster than having to call everyone.”

Networking remains at the heart of Insignia Mortgage’s strategy. With a focus on building and nurturing relationships with realtors, Patel believes in the power of trust.

“We’re working on building realtor relationships always because they always want to get their deal closed, and once you close one for them, they’re probably in your back pocket for a long time because they know that the hard deals are not easy,” he said.

Stay updated with the freshest mortgage news. Get exclusive interviews, breaking news, and industry events in your inbox, and always be the first to know by subscribing to our FREE daily newsletter.