How did you get into the industry?
It was 2005, the Real Estate market was booming. I had gotten back from Afghanistan and Iraq in 2004 and I was then in college studying economics. I knew that real estate was the right thing for me and would use my economics background well. Then, in 2008 the market crashed. I had to figure out how to build a business despite the crash and I did.
How does being veteran-owned set you apart from other businesses in this industry?
It sets me apart when I am working with other veterans. In 2020, we had all-time low-interest rates at around 2.25%, without paying points. We were able to get these rates secured for veterans. We had veterans being bombarded by all sorts of companies during this time, with words like “veteran” or “navy” in their names. BUT, I am different because I can relate from one vet to another. I would send a personalized letter with photos of me in Iraq and this was huge because it was related to them on a deeper level. We speak the same language. We understand the same stuff. Of course, we will thank each other for our service, but we are in a space where it can go unspoken because we truly understand one another. This is a differentiator for me from my competitors.
Where do you see opportunities or challenges in the business moving forward?
The opportunity is the demand that we currently have. The demand for real estate is at an all time high. One reason is that first-time home buyers’ ages are early 30s and the millennials are the largest segment of our population. Even if the inventory goes up and the market balances, there is still demand for people who want to go into homeownership
We are entering into a rising interest rate. My success is based on pivoting. In 2008 & 2017 there were changes for reverse mortgages so I pivoted back to all mortgages, This set me up for 2020 where there were only conventional loans going on for a couple of months.
How do we maneuver and succeed, even though a lot of people will get out of the business who was once making a lot of money refinancing? I answer that and my business succeeds.
Describe a difficult moment in your business journey.
In 2018, I was coming back to all mortgages after only offering reverse mortgages, my company became a branch of a larger lender. I was told for many years that you are better off under a larger lender. Their interest rates are higher. There are so many hands in the pot, so many mouths need to be fed, so it wasn’t best for me. I didn’t need that help running a company because I had already owned my company for 6 years. So I transitioned into the lender branch model and then came back out of it. Running the company myself was difficult because I lost a lot of money. But I call that tuition. I got a huge education that year. This — and many other lessons — equip me to help others succeed in their business as franchisees.
Describe the ideal franchisee.
I think the best would be somebody who is a top producer but has been afraid of going out 100% on their own. Whether they are branch managers for a larger industry or individual MLO, I can help give them security with compliance and reports and software and marketing. Everything that’s needed to run a business is here, and they also have a coach. Someone who has been through many ups and downs in this industry. Perhaps they own their own business already.
What are your goals for your company in the future?
For my current mortgage company, I see continued growth as I have a lot of realtors, financial advisors who are getting their licenses and young people who are coming to me to learn. Eventually, the franchising will grow to a certain extent and that will take up my time so then the focus becomes helping those franchisees that they can succeed to the level I’ve succeeded or many more.
Anything Else you’d like to add?
I love helping people. I’ve given MLOs starting their own company free advice for years on what they should do to succeed. Now I get to do it in a structure that has the ops manual and everything written out to help them succeed long term and I am really excited about doing that!