Walking the manicured streets of Beverly Hills surrounding his office, Romy Nourafchan spots and chats with his former clients daily. It’s one of his favorite things about his job, and the relationships he’s built have led to countless friendships and connections. He’s visible in his community, and when the wealthy and famous denizens of Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive need a mortgage, they know who to turn to.
“Don’t pander to the client just to get a deal. If a deal’s not good for a client, I tell them.”
Specializing in jumbo mortgages for high net worth individuals, Nourafchan regularly closes multimillion-dollar loans. Last year, his average loan volume was more than $3.2 million, making him No. 1 on Scotsman Guide’s newest ranking, Top Jumbo Originators. He’s been carving out his niche in jumbos for years.
“My career started in 1990. For seven or eight years, I worked as a broker, then went into banking and worked for big banks and a few smaller banks,” Nourafchan said. “Over this time, my strategy has always been to go after jumbo loans … and continually build my business on higher dollar amounts.”
Now working at boutique brokerage Insignia Mortgage, Nourafchan uses a variety of lenders to meet each of his clients’ unique needs. Regional banks, credit unions, private funds and the private arms of larger banks are all within his arsenal — and he said he’s always expanding his lender repertoire. With smaller banks running low on deposits and pausing loan programs, he has been spending more time recently with sourcing.
“We actually have a good amount of deal flow and we get a lot of referrals, even from other banks,” Nourafchan said. “Our challenge is to continually add new lenders … new private investors, new banks, spending a lot of time on that. Thankfully for us, we know how to do it and how to get them. But that’s challenging.”
Nourafchan said that this year, most of the deals coming through are between $1 million and $3 million. There’s a low inventory of homes in this price range and anything coming onto the market is still getting multiple offers. Homebuyers who can afford these homes would prefer to buy rather than rent, so they’re willing to pay higher interest rates.
Homes from $3 million to $7 million are less in demand but still doing OK, he said, with similar inventory challenges. The high end, however, which involves loans of $10 million or more, has slowed significantly. Inventory is plentiful at this price point, but most buyers just aren’t interested right now. Jumbo loans at any price point often involve complex borrower finances, as high net worth individuals tend to store wealth in assets rather than liquidities. Thankfully, Nourafchan said, he has “the best team in the country” at Insignia to help him process loans.
“When we submit a file to a lender, it’s pristine,” Nourafchan said. “And you know, it’s a flipside too. We know upfront if a loan’s not going to work, which is an even bigger deal. … If we review a file and know it isn’t going to work, we give our honest opinion.”
This honest communication has been key to gaining client trust and referrals. “I don’t overpromise. I’m fair and honest with them,” he said. If a client says they were promised more by another broker, Nourafchan says he tells them to give it a try, but these clients often come back when it doesn’t work out. “Don’t pander to the client just to get a deal,” he said. “If a deal’s not good for a client, I tell them.” ●
Tips of the Trade
Learn how to underwrite a file. Know what an underwriter looks for and understand how the loan works. Be very good at analyzing loans, because that’s the key. You have to be able to understand if the loan will work or not, and why. Continually expand your referral sources — go out there, meet Realtors, join a networking group. It’s work, but it’ll pay off, and it can be fun meeting new people. Deliver what you say you’ll deliver and everything will take care of itself. You’ll soon get a lot of referrals from places you’d never expect.