What's key for brokers in navigating current market turbulence?

Florida broker talks current priorities, AIME benefits

What's key for brokers in navigating current market turbulence?

Mortgage rates are high by the standards of recent years, and don’t show much sign of a big imminent drop. But for one prominent Florida-based mortgage broker, top of mind in the current climate is acknowledging that ups and downs are part of any market cycle – and there will always be Americans determined to push ahead with a purchase even despite higher borrowing costs.

Tracie Mayo (pictured top), mortgage broker and owner with Savvy Mortgage Lending, told Mortgage Professional America that she was keeping things in perspective amidst a turbulent and unpredictable ride for the mortgage market over the last few years.

“I keep in mind that the market is going to shift and rates have never really stopped people from buying over the years,” she said. “Rates go up, they go down. People still need to buy homes – and I just always make sure I don’t spend everything I make so that I’ve got money in the bank for these slower times.”

Having entered the industry around 2013 – with the housing market still reeling from the impact of the global financial meltdown, and just years before the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic – it’s fair to say Mayo has had a strong primer in navigating challenging times in the industry.

Initially starting in the banking retail space, she moved into the broker realm a few years later, opening her own brokerage in 2016 and steadily building her business from there.

Some of the main ways she’s managed to thrive and carve out new business even with volume and purchase activity well down from the heady days of the pandemic, she said, have been diversifying and casting as wide a net as possible for clients and referral partners.

Prudence, meanwhile, is another key consideration when it comes to weathering the current storm and emerging on the other side.

“I’m usually a huge proponent of not putting all of your eggs in the real estate basket,” she said. “I would build relationships with divorce attorney and financial planners because there are lots of people out there that do need to refinance or need to find different types of loans – reverse mortgage, for example.

“And so you’ve got to diversify during these hard markets, and again, you’ve got to make sure that when you’re making money, you’re saving that money because you never know when the market’s going to go down again.”

How AIME is helping brokers get ahead

A long-time member of the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts (AIME), Mayo highlighted the role that association has played in helping its members meet challenges and provide guidance and support where needed.

That’s especially relevant when it comes to lender connections and ensuring as strong a relationship with the lender community as possible, she said.

“There’s so many things to like about AIME, but [one is that] they help you with your lenders,” she said. “If you’ve got some sort of an emergency and you need some help there, they’re always there to help talk to the people they’ve got access to that we possibly don’t.

“They’re always good for finding good, solid lender partners that we can partner with when we’re looking for different types of loan products and then of course, they’re always offering some sort of AIME benefit, partnering with other companies and businesses that make our lives a lot easier in the broker world.”

BrokerVA partnership wins praise

Earlier this year, AIME announced that BrokerVA, a compliant virtual assistant staffing company for loan officers, had joined its Brokers Are Better (BAB) network.

Mayo described that initiative as “one of the best things that ever happened” to her business, and an excellent option for broker shops hoping to streamline costs and scale upwards.

“I hired a virtual assistant through BrokerVA and I love my VA – first of all, [the service is] compliant. I don’t have to worry about anything because the company is compliant. She’s very well versed in underwriting and so it’s very beneficial and it doesn’t cost me half the salary that I would be paying my assistant. So I love BrokerVA.”

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