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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   August 2013

6 Suggestions for Success

Starting right lays the foundation for a thriving career in mortgages

So, you recently became a mortgage loan originator. You’ve passed the National Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) pre-licensing exams, and now, after all that studying, preparation and hoop-jumping, you’re finally licensed and ready to hit the streets. It’s time to start your career and build your book of business. Understandably, your starting point may be vague. Do you visit Realtors? Should you call on your friends and family? Do you pop into every open house you can find each weekend? Where do you begin? It may be more important, however, to know where you shouldn’t begin.

"Mortgage professionals also must accept that obstacles are inevitable. In fact, if anything, you should embrace these difficulties."

Beginning does not consist of visiting every Realtor’s office in your county. Building your book of business does not involve incessantly cold-calling prospective referral sources. A successful beginning starts with a plan — a plan to which you must wholeheartedly commit. Ideally, this plan for success should consist of six components: attitude, organization, patience, perseverance, knowledge and service.


Henry Ford is credited with immortalizing the adage, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right,” meaning that your attitude is the cornerstone of achieving your success and desires. You must believe in yourself. No success is possible without that.
Mortgage professionals also must accept that obstacles are inevitable. In fact, if anything, you should embrace these difficulties. The key to doing so is calmly and consistently reminding yourself that you can overcome any obstacle that surfaces. By defining yourself as a successful and talented professional with whom your clients will benefit from working, you will establish a foundation for success.

Yes, you will experience a learning curve. Sure, you will commit mistakes. Regardless, right from the start, a successful career must emerge from the foundation of true conviction and belief. Always remember to enjoy your work and to show it. Positivity is contagious.


Organization is mandatory. In working with peoples’ homes, disorganization can ruin your reputation. Your pipeline is your business, and in order to run a successful business, you must be organized.

Establish processes and systems to make sure that your phone messages, e-mails, standard mail and faxes get responded to within 24 hours of receipt. Ensure that your customers and associates know how to get in touch with you and are aware of the times in which you’re available. Be certain to use out-of-office e-mail responses and outgoing voicemail messages any time you’re unavailable for more than 24 hours to inform people of your absence in addition to referring them to someone who can help while you’re out.

You may find it helpful to dedicate one day each week to following up with every one of your active customers, even if there’s nothing new to report. Set aside time for marketing and sales calls and strictly honor that time. All the same, if a customer contacts you during your follow-up or marketing time, be sure to respond to that contact later. Jumping from one task to another in the presence of interruptions can render you disorganized, frustrated, scattered and exhausted.

To help yourself in these endeavors, try to incorporate checklists into your active loan files to ensure that necessary documentation and conditions are secured. Every time you speak with a customer or agent, be sure to enter the date, time, name of the individual with whom you spoke and the content of the conversation in a log inserted into the file. Between all of these systems, you will create a well-oiled process affording you the opportunity to consistently originate new loans while other, less-organized originators are scrambling to salvage their loans still in progress.


The phrase “Rome wasn’t built in a day” reassures us that things worthwhile often take time. Even if you’ve rightfully convinced yourself that you’re a successful and talented mortgage loan originator, you must accept that a solid pipeline of satisfied customers and a steady, respectable income take time to develop.

If you’re looking for instant fortune and success, you’re misleading yourself. If you’re a dedicated mortgage professional, success is definitely on your horizon, but it still will take time to reach it. Be patient with yourself, your career and your processes as everything develops and improves over time.


You may as well accept it from the start of your career — you will hit some rough spots. Not every application will be approved and some excited customers may not return after checking with their significant others.

Disappointments and defeats are inevitable, but it’s through these disappointments that you can learn, grow and realize how to do things better the next time. Every “no” brings you one step closer to a “yes,” and you should bear this in mind. There may be days when you think that pursuing leads is futile, but don’t give up — perseverance is key.

Many mortgage brokers and originators give up shortly before they otherwise would have achieved success. The days when you least wish to pursue leads, conduct your sales calls, market and social network are the days when you should be pursuing those tasks most passionately. In the long run, perseverance always pays off.


A successful mortgage career involves a constant ear to the ground. Our industry changes faster than many others, and without staying abreast of industry changes and developments, your competition will have a clear advantage over you.

Don’t rely solely on your employer to provide you with what’s necessary to stay informed. Instead, take your own initiative. There are many industry- update lists to which you may subscribe, and many of these are free. In addition, thoroughly familiarize yourself with a few of the industry’s most vital websites, including:

Related, consider subscribing to one or more mortgage-industry publications to stay abreast of the information and updates that you need to perpetuate your success.


Let’s say that a couple is applying for their first mortgage. They find a loan originator at a local bank who seems friendly, service-oriented and knowledgeable, and they decide to work with this person because the originator seems patient, available and responsive — at least until the couple’s application is received. Following that, the originator is difficult to reach, and by the time that the couple closes on their loan, they’re furious over the dramatic drop in the quality of service that they received from their once responsive originator.

The loan originator gets paid regardless, but how much might that person lose in terms of repeat-and-referral business? Some may guess as much as thousands of dollars. Customer service does not end once the application ends. A mortgage originator is a service provider and always must remember that.

Consider these two rules of thumb for fostering successful client relationships: The Golden Rule encourages us to treat others the way that we wish to be treated, and the Platinum Rule reminds us to treat others the way that they want to be treated. By servicing your clients and being mindful of these two philosophies, your customers will refer others to you and return when they need new mortgage financing.

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Of course, success is never guaranteed. You must work hard at what you want to achieve your goals, but by following these six components of success, you’ll be certain to achieve those goals sooner rather than later.


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