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Residential Department: Featured Top Originator: Austin Larr, Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp.: December 2017


Featured Top Originator: Austin Larr, Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp.

When Austin Larr bought a house fresh out of college, he fell in love with the homebuying process.

He was around 22, and it was before the housing-market crash. He bought the house in the college town of Muncie, Indiana, for less than $100,000. When he moved about a year-and-a-half later, he sold the house to the college and earned a 25 percent profit.

“I literally thought it was just that easy,” Larr remembers. “I just thought, you know what? This is a great industry. … Obviously, the crash happened, and then I realized that not all transactions are that easy. But naïve at 22, 23, I thought that that was where the money was.”

Though naivety may have prompted Larr to enter the mortgage industry, the satisfaction of professional growth has kept him there. He started as a loan officer around age 26, and now has a team of employees around that age.

“I love to be able to teach the trade, and we just grow in the process,” he says. Larr started at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. in 2010. He’s now manager of the Fishers, Indiana, branch.

One way Larr’s branch stays nimble in an everchanging industry is by recruiting young people who can connect with today’s millennial home-buyers. Larr’s branch hires and trains people new to the industry as a way of addressing the aging of industry professionals as well.

“We look for bright, young minds that are really go-getters, that don’t necessarily have any connections in the industry, that we’re going to train,” he says. “We start everybody out in kind of an assistant role and then eventually graduate them to a junior loan officer (position), and then on to a full-blown loan officer. It’s a great way to grow.”

The most valuable advice Larr gives to new loan officers is to devise a system and stick to it, he says. That means planning out the week, such as following up with phone calls on Tuesdays, taking new leads on Wednesdays and visiting real estate agents’ offices on Thursdays.

“Figure out what works,” he says. “You tweak as you go, but you do that system day in and day out. And you may not see immediate results, but you will see results over the long term.”

The numbers suggest Larr knows what he’s talking about. He ranked No. 2 for FHA loan volume in Scotsman Guide’s most recent Top Originator rankings, which are based on 2016 loan data. He credits his focus on Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, loans to the fact that he is located in the Indianapolis metro area. It’s home to many factory and other blue-collar workers who are primed to take advantage of the lower downpayments and higher debt-to-income ratios associated with FHA-backed loans, he says.

“It really fits this Midwestern community,” he says, adding that he also markets to many first-time homebuyers.

Larr believes the most important thing he, or any-one else in the industry, can do to maintain their success is to look to mobile technology. Mobile is the future of the mortgage industry, he insists.

“The companies that are embracing that (mobile) technology will be around for the long term, and those that aren’t are going to have to figure something out pretty soon,” he says.

For the eighth year in a row, we compiled the industry’s most comprehensive list of the nation’s top mortgage originators. The rankings include not only the originators who are closing the most dollar volume and the most loans, but also the leaders in niche areas, like Federal Housing Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Agriculture loans as well as home equity lines of credit.

View Scotsman Guide’s Top Originators 2016 at


Steven Wyble is online content editor of Scotsman Guide Media. Reach him at (800) 297-6061 or

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