Everyone has their passions, and loanDepot’s Baret Kechian has two. One is working with real estate professionals and helping clients in the fast-paced Mid-Atlantic market achieve their homeownership dreams. The other is collecting wine.
“I’m an avid — I wouldn’t even say collector — but let’s call it a fan of wine,” said Kechian, a producing branch manager for loanDepot in Hudson County, New Jersey. “I’m currently up to about, maybe, 800 to 900 bottles. It has been awesome and it’s one of my favorite hobbies.
“I’ve gotten to a point where it has become like a much more expensive version of your old baseball card collection,” he added with a laugh. “I actually do have a wine cellar in my condo that I had built last year. I guess the end goal is, somewhere down the line, when I’m done with mortgages, hopefully I’ll be able to drink good wine every night.”
Not that he’s planning on leaving his job anytime soon. Kechian is enjoying a multiyear run of success as one of the country’s top originators, placing No. 7 in the nation in 2018 in Scotsman Guide’s Top Dollar Volume rankings with $231.3 million in closed loans.
I don’t consider this job as much sales as much as I consider it educating people in an easy way.
The mortgage industry is a rewarding business, Kechian said, one that allows him to indulge his entrepreneurial, energetic character while aiding other people in reaching their own goals.
“I don’t consider this job as much sales as much as I consider it educating people in an easy way,” he said. “The funny thing was, I graduated with a finance degree and I don’t think I knew what a mortgage was when I first took a job in this industry. Buying a home can be intimidating, overwhelming and scary at times, especially in an area like Hudson County where there’s a lot of activity. People move in and out a lot. It’s my job to make it easier.”
Kechian added that he enjoys the fast-paced nature of New Jersey, where the thriving condominium market doesn’t stop. Thanks to an ever-growing network of colleagues and clients, Kechian has parlayed that fast pace into tremendous growth for his loanDepot branch. The advancement of loan processing technology in the past few years, he said, has helped originators in high-traffic areas like his truly push their operations to another level.
“We’ve seen some major technological changes that have helped,” Kechian said. “I think, procedurally, overall processes have improved and made it easier for us to close loans faster. The industry has opened up a lot in terms of making it easier for clients to verify their information. And we’ve taken all that technology and kind of blended it with the mom-and-pop service to turn it into a great experience for clients.”
He has even learned a thing or two from the wine world that have helped as a mortgage originator.
“It’s not all about the price,” he said. “It’s definitely quality versus price sometimes, and about finding the right wine that suits your taste. Definitely some of the better wines will cost you a little bit more, but when you drink one compared to, let’s say, your everyday [bottle], you definitely see the difference. But it’s not always like that, and it’s my job to help people find the right match for them.
“And I’ve learned to listen to the experts,” he added. “I’m by no means a sommelier or anything like that. I always try to listen to those who know a lot more than me about the subject, because regardless of how much you know, there’s always something new to learn. I like to never stop learning because, again, that way I can