At 18 years old, Tim Potempa was working in a Wells Fargo mortgage call center, making $100 for each loan he closed. Last year, after 18 years in business, he closed more than $857 million in volume cross 1,640 loans. This was good for eighth place in Scotsman Guide’s Top Originators rankings, a leap up from 32nd place the year before.
At the beginning of his career, sitting in the call center, Potempa realized he was doing well and could do even more. He decided to go into retail mortgages, worked with Wells Fargo for about seven years and then transitioned away from bank-based lending. “I went through that transition during the downturn (of 2007 to 2009),” Potempa said. “During those years, I would tell people what I do for a living and they would make a face. But I was doing well.”
He said his philosophy during those years was, “I’ll work twice as hard and come out of it fine.” He began building his brand and name recognition, and he made himself available nearly 24/7 for his clients, answering the phone late at night, during meals and any other time his clients needed him. “I didn’t want to wait for people to hand me clients to work with,” Potempa said.
He began building his marketing and lead-generation systems as he wanted to get in front of consumers first, even before real estate agents did. He still incorporates that philosophy into his business model today, making himself a key resource for clients by getting involved in every step of the homebuying process.
“I think, in this industry, you get what you pay for,” Potempa said. “We make the calls; we work with our real estate partners. … It doesn’t matter what your rates are if your offer doesn’t get accepted. We want to know when our clients find a home they like so we can structure the best options for them.”
He said his business model has been working so well that he’s been getting offers with seller concessions, which he hasn’t seen for years. But even as an established originator, he’s still working to make his loan process better. Part of the reason for his huge jump in volume last year, he said, is that he invested time into streamlining his systems and the purchase process. With the market moving so fast, Potempa wanted to make sure his team could keep up and stay ahead.
I think, in this industry, you get what you pay for. We make the calls; we work with our real estate partners. … It doesn’t matter what your rates are if your offer doesn’t get accepted.
“Our goal is to get to the point of closing every loan in 10 to 12 days,” he said. “The quicker we get everything done, the better it is for everyone.”
Potempa said this year is on track to be as successful as last year, despite the challenge of moving a team of 50 people from Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. to his new company, OneTrust Home Loans. The move, he said, will allow his team to decrease overhead costs and close loans faster.
Potempa said he could have hundreds of prospective clients in states like California and Washington, but there just aren’t enough homes for them to purchase. Through his move to OneTrust, Potempa hopes to be licensed in 30 to 40 states by 2023. Today, when clients change their minds and decide to move to a state he’s not licensed in, he must refer them to another lender.
“If the client changes their mind and wants to live in New Hampshire, Vermont, we outsource about 30 of those deals a month, and I want to keep those clients,” Potempa said. ●